Forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku means immersing yourself in nature in a conscious way, using your senses to derive benefits for your physical, mental, emotional and social health. The idea started in Japan in the 1980’s and proved to be effective in overcoming the ill effects of a hectic life and stressful work environment. Forest bathing also helps in fighting depression and anxiety.
It boosts immunity and leads to faster recovery from injury or surgery. Nature has a positive effect on our mind as well as body. It improves heart and lung health, and is known to increase focus, concentration and memory (TIME, Psychology Today, Healing Forest, 2021).
You can try these steps:
- Find a good spot - a park, garden or body of water is fine, no need a forest. Try switching off all devices and enjoy some silence.
- Notice how you feel right now. Start walking and notice the sensation on the bottoms of your feet. Every time you start thinking of something, just come back to your feet. Do this for 10 minutes.
- Start to take in the trees, plants and whatever surrounds you. “Listen” with your eyes. Take in the smells and sounds. Even if your mind wanders a thousand times, no problem, just come back to your focus. Do this for 10 minutes.
- You can continue or stop here. Notice how you feel as you finish your walk. Whatever you feel is just fine.