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Forest bathing effects and benefits

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I am dealing with seasonal affective depression (SAD) symptoms. One of the ways to improve SAD symptoms is to spend time outdoors during the day and getting some sunlight. I am very happy that spring is here, as well as daylight savings so I can enjoy the outdoors and daylight more time. I have enjoyed our walks with my daughter. We try to go to a park or trail for a walk at least a few times a week. Now that we started our garden a couple of weeks ago, we go outside every day. I also have been able to work from my patio a few times, taking in the views of the trees and taking in the sunlight. My depression symptoms have been improving.

I recently came across a new term, “Forest Bathing” while reading the book “Body into Balance.” Forest bathing is a Japanese practice (Shinrin yoku) of relaxing your mind and revitalizing your body by immersing yourself in nature. Going for a walk, meditating, exercising, and playing amongst trees or a forest-like environment brings a lot of physical and emotional benefits. Even sitting gazing at a forest for just 20-30 minutes decreases stress hormones and when you gaze at a lake, pond, or river, you get improved effects of forest bathing.

This practice has shown to

  • improve blood oxygen

  • decrease heart rate and blood pressure

  • reduced levels of cortisol and stress

  • improved mood

  • lower depression symptoms

  • increase liveliness

  • improve decrease brain fatigue, focus, cognition, and creativity

I am glad I found this very appropriate term – immersing yourself in the forest and nature to get all of the effects of it. If you want to learn more about the history of when and why Shinrin yoku started in Japan, I am linking a very recent article that I found very informative from Healing Forest.

Next time you are considering doing something like reading, eating, exercising, or meditating, I encourage you to it outside. Just look at all the great effects just 20-30 minutes in nature can have on your body and mind! Enjoy!

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