The Japanese who live no where near any countryside just find a wood and use a technique called ‘shining-yoko’, also known as ‘forest bathing’ to help them relax and beat off stress the natural way.
It involves spending time in the woods and the idea is to let nature enter through all five senses. The practice is said to help lower your blood pressure, fight depression and beat stress.
The Guardian writes ‘ it is believed that time spent under the green canopy is critical in fighting a number of diseases and conditions’. Some Japanese spend a regular few day’s in the forest and Forestry England Forest bathing, which despite its name does not involve water. Forestry England have some top tips and activities to get you going, which include,
- Turn off your devices to give yourself the best chance of relaxing, being mindful and enjoying a sensory forest-based experience.
- Slow down. Move through the forest slowly so you can see and feel more.
- Take long breaths deep into the abdomen. Extending the exhalation of air to twice the length of the inhalation sends a message to the body that it can relax.
- Stop, stand or sit, smell what’s around you, what can you smell?
- Take in your surroundings using all of your senses. How does the forest environment make you feel? Be observant, look at nature’s small details.
- Sit quietly using mindful observation; try to avoid thinking about your to-do list or issues related to daily life. You might be surprised by the number of wild forest inhabitants you see using this process.
- Keep your eyes open. The colours of nature are soothing and studies have shown that people relax best while seeing greens and blues.
- Stay as long as you can, start with a comfortable time limit and build up to the recommended two hours for a complete forest bathing experience.
They want you to let us know how you get along!
The NHS have a ‘social prescribing’ list which includes volunteering, sports activities, and gardening as a way to feel better. Forest bathing is a chance for people to take time out, slow down and connect with nature. They describe ‘social prescribing’ works for a wide range of people, including people:
- with one or more long-term conditions
- who need support with their mental health
- who are lonely or isolated
- who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year camping has become extremely popular. In fact my respective family and child have always camped but this year was their first one with my young (12 month) granddaughter. Every time they camped my daughter would say she would ‘go out like a light’ when put to bed.
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