When was the last time you walk barefoot on the grass? Not your thing? Well maybe it’s time because connecting with nature is medicine more powerful than a pill!
We all know that walking outside in nature is good for you, but what does it do?
I was introduced to the why and the concept of ‘FOREST BATHING’, also known as Shinrin-yoku, by Katolen Yardley at CSNN’s Annual Canadian Holistic Nutrition Conference 2018. Shinrin-yoku is a term originated from Japan in 1982 for connecting with nature by moving slowly through the forest using all of your senses.
It is a natural relaxation and stress management technique which can greatly increase immune cells activity and reduce stress, anxiety and depression issues.
The evergreen trees release phytoncides into the air which help to boost our natural killer cells, our frontline immune cells, when we breathe in large amounts of this air. It’s nature’s aromatherapy!
A study done by Duke University in 1999 show that walking in nature 30 minutes 3 times/week is more effective in reducing depression symptoms than Zoloft® antidepressant alone.
Here’s how forest bathing helped me go from an emotional outbreak to a calm, loving and accepting being.
Although this past Sunday was a bright and sunny day, my day was not going the way that I had planned. As a result, I slowly built momentum of negative energy by focusing on thoughts of self-pity.
I was choosing to think disempowering thoughts without any awareness. Thoughts like… why am I not appreciated and why am I not being recognized grew stronger and stronger.
I started to look externally for validation from my other half and surely I started to interpret all his actions as confirmation of all my negative thoughts!
I LOST IT!
I unleashed my roar of outrage and almost instantly I felt horrible. I recognized what had happened. I had to remove myself from the room of toxic energy that I had created and chose to go for a walk outside.
My walk drew me to the nearby creekside trails. I must have walked 30 feet into the forest when I noticed that my anger was dissipating. I started to notice the beauty around me and was reminded of the talk about forest bathing.
I found myself wanting to find a spot to just sit and chill. Then sure enough, it was almost like the spot came to find me. A tree at this particular spot seemed to be lying across the ground offering a branch for me to sit on while the sister branches hugged me overhead.
As I was sitting there, the sun beamed down past the branches offering warmth and nutrients of positive thoughts.
All my senses heightened. I noticed the smallest bugs working through the ground minding their own business. The trees and surrounding plants smelt amazing and I could hear the stream of water running through the creek nearby.
I had found peace and forgot about the anger I was feeling. I could only feel gratitude and forgiveness to myself. I forgave myself for my wave of negative emotions and was left with love for awareness.
It is truly empowering to be able to notice thoughts that don’t serve you, how it can affect your emotions and have Mother Nature as your antidote.
I highly recommend you to allot some time for yourself to connect with nature and bring your 5 senses along with you!
To learn more about forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku, please check out the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy, an abundance of scientific studies and information!
Breathe it all in, love it all out!
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