Your Body In Nature
2 min read
Take a minute and focus on the image below.
Can you feel yourself relaxing? Your breathing slowing? Your mind clearing? It’s not all in your head—studies have shown that merely looking at a photo of forest can have a calming effect.
How about if you go to the real thing? Surround yourself with living trees. Smell the pine. Touch the bark. Listen to the rustling of the leaves. The restorative effects are even greater.
This concept, called forest bathing or shinrin-yoku, has been studied and implemented by the Japanese since the 1980’s for wellness. Immersing yourself in a natural forest has physiological and psychological benefits that you just can’t get from a walk through the city.
Physiologically, a leisurely stroll through the woods lowers cortisol (that pesky stress hormone) levels, lowers blood pressure, and improves energy levels. Chemicals released by certain tree species—phytoncides—actually enhance little fighter cells in the human body that are responsible for fighting off viral infections and preventing tumor growth.
With decreased stress levels, mental illness such as anxiety and depression are curbed, improving mood. Your memory functions better. Forest bathing even improves focus for those suffering from ADHD.
Walking in general is a stress-reliever, but next time you need that extra boost, try escaping to the forest for a bit. Not for a strenuous hike, but a mindful walk under the cathedral of trees. Reconnect. Restore. Who wouldn’t want to breathe in fresh air over the exhaust-filled air of the city?
Lucky for ATLiens, there are several spots to retreat to from the city and experience forest bathing. We’ve highlighted 4 of our favorites.
Are you calmer already?