Hi my lovelies!,
This week the weather has been glorious I hope that you have been able to get out.
Whilst out and about I discovered ‘forest bathing’-now, don’t worry it did not involve running around in a swimsuit (think still a bit cold for that yet!). Forest bathing or ‘shinrin-yoku’ was first developed in Japan in the 1980s, following scientific studies conducted by the government. The results showed that two hours of mindful exploration in a forest could:
- reduce blood pressure
- lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels
- improve concentration, focus and memory.
They also discovered the science behind these amazing health benefits that trees release chemicals (phytoncides) which have an anti-microbial effect on human bodies thus boost the immune system.
The Japanese government introduced ‘shinrin-yoku’ as an important part of their national health programme. Similar programs are also being offered in the UK and are supported by the National Trust and many other organisations.
Here are my tips for FOREST BATHING:
- Make a day of it-why not visit a forest you have never been to before-you will discover new things and this will give your experience a sense of adventure!you can be an intrepid explorer! On the other hand, if you can’t get to a forest just apply the guidelines of the experience to any outdoor green space you can get to- a local park or nature reserve will have many secrets that you haven’t noticed before!
- Have your phone with you for safety but why not turn it off and claim so ‘me’ time just for you! The commitments of the modern world mean that we are contactable 24 hours a day so set some boundaries for yourself and really use this time to switch off-you will really feel the benefits of escaping into your own world.
- Choose a quiet time of the day perhaps early morning or tea time
- We often think of the ‘destination’ rather than the journey so s l o w d o w n. …..and really take your time. If you see something interesting pause for a moment and take it in-also, if you are skill and mindful you are more likely to observe those smaller details such as buds on the trees the sound of crunching leaves under your feet-really design the experience so it stimulates all the senses: listen to the sound of bird sound- feel the warmth of the sun on your face; hear the wind whisper to you through the trees. Also, if you really take your time the forest will reveal magical sights to you-you may even see a deer or a rare bird.
- Really focus on being mindful and fully present. A good way to do this is to focus on breathing: take a slow breath in and then then a slower breath out. Perhaps try breathing in for a round of 4 and out for a count of 8 this will really help you to focus on the moment where nothing else matters but you!
- Some organisations recommend 2 hrs to get the full benefits out of forest bathing but just stay for as long as you need-there is no right or wrong way to do it-after all this is therapy for you!
Have a good week all
Lots of love,