According to countless research studies, spending time in nature can improve mental performance, better your health, extend your life, and reduce cortisol, that pesky stress hormone.
In the 1980’s, the Japanese instituted a preventative health technique called “forest bathing” or “shinrin-yoku.” Forest bathing involves walking calmly in a woodland area, gently breathing, and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the pastoral atmosphere.
The proven benefits of forest bathing (in study after study) are nothing less than remarkable, ranging from boosted immune function to lower blood pressure to improved sleep, in addition to the other positives noted above. The ambiance of nature also provides an opportunity for “cognitive quiet,” which can help you think more clearly.
When you’re not able to spend time in nature, you can gaze at photographs of nature or look out a window at a view of nature. This can help decrease your stress levels too although it’s not a replacement for getting out in nature to receive its profound healing effects.
Monthly Stress Challenge
Spend some time in nature, every day or every few days if you can. If you find this challenging, just start by going into your backyard for five or ten minutes or visiting a nearby park for a brief time. Slowly increase the time as you acclimate to nourishing yourself in this way.
Try to spend an extended period of time in natural surroundings once a week – at least an hour, but an afternoon or a whole day could be sublime. If you’re not able to visit a forest, seek out an arboretum, a park, a wildlife sanctuary, a lake, an ocean, or a waterfall.
On days when you don’t have time to go out, bring nature inside to you through the images on your wall, your computer desktop wallpaper, and bouquets of flowers or herbs.
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