Forest-bathing is a literal translation of Japanese words ‘shinrin-yoku’. This practice has been a part of Japan’s Ministry of Health program used to improve one’s well-being and might be prescribed by doctors. Connecting ourselves to nature through our five senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch, can offer countless benefits in lowering blood pressure and cortisol level (a marker of stress), as well as improving memory and focus.

Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

Forest-bathing is one of the cheapest, minimalist, entertainment that will allow you to slow things down and live at the present, relax your mind under the canopy of trees and the warmth of the sun. There is no goal in practicing forest-bathing, nowhere to go, no exercise. Just to be mindful with where you are.

Immerse yourself in the presence of nature, taste the air you are breathing in, see only what is around you, and feel the breeze everytime it touches you!

It does not even have to be a forest, a green space close to where you live should suffice. You needn’t to walk, plenty of things such as meditating, deep-breathing, identifying trees, sitting, or lying on the ground, can be a part of this activity. Just make sure to ditch your gadgets for a while.

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As majority of people live in urban areas with a high percentage of their time spent indoor, stresses and pressure are immense. Forest-bathing can be used to provide us with an escape and the much-needed “pause button”. It is also a proven preventive medicine against stress-related health issues.

Many researches found that even a brief moment in nature can help with depression, brain protection, and boost cells that help fight infection and inflammation. On top of that, phytoncides, a chemical released by trees, is also suggested to improve our immune system.

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    Bolton emphasizes, however, that a forest therapy guide is not a therapist. “The forest itself is the therapist,” she says. “The forest does all the work. The guide simply opens the door to the forest to help connect the forest with the person.” One of the benefits of paying close attention to your surroundings is you see new things that can inspire other areas of your life. “Whether you’re an architect or a painter or a writer, so much creative inspiration comes from slowing down in the forest and noticing the details with all our senses,” she says. For example, noticing an insect you’ve never seen before could inspire a new idea: “There’s this awe effect, this great joy and wonder and curiosity and excitement.”

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