Forest bathing is a peaceful practice that originated in Japan, and it involves opening your senses up to nature as you take a walk. The concept is so simple it’s almost stupid, but there’s tons of research out there that proves it can be extremely beneficial. I’ve tried apps like Headspace to help me get into meditating so I can zone out at the end of a long, stressful day, but more often than not I get bored, and my mind starts to wander.
With forest bathing, you don’t need to focus so hard on cultivating a quiet space, you just take in the beauty of nature to help calm you down. You don’t necessarily need a full-on forest to start this practice, it can be done in any natural area. After you hear all the reasons why it’s so beneficial, you’ll definitely want to try it ASAP!
It Increases Your Ability To Focus
As anyone who’s ever been camping knows, it’s nearly impossible to focus on the stresses of work and school when you’re surrounded by nature. Whichever terrain is accessible to you, beach, mountains, desert, forests, it’s incredibly relaxing to step away from all the deadlines, notifications and emails and focus on the simpler things life has to offer.
It sounds counterintuitive that to increase your focus, you need to focus less on things, but the more time you spend in nature, the less you’ll worry about the trivial things in life. You’ll be able to prioritize, and you’ll feel refreshed from the walk so you can get your work done with a clear mind. We live in an age where everyone is always working, so giving yourself space to just breathe for a bit and step outside of the routine of daily life will motivate you to be more intentional with your work.
It Helps You Sleep
I used to get so anxious at the end of the day. I was always thinking about what I needed to get done the next day, or the assignments I procrastinated too long on, and it really messed with my sleep.
When I tried forest bathing, I noticed a massive difference in my ability to sleep peacefully. It helps you wind down, and your worries will melt away. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing you’ve done your best that day, and you’ll feel more prepared for whatever tomorrow brings.
Your Mood Will Change Drastically
Spending time outdoors is a game-changer for mood swings. It’s challenging to stay angry, sad, or stressed when you’re watching the sunlight dance through leaves and breathing in fresh, clean air. If you walk super slowly while taking long, deep breaths, you’ll notice a change in mood within seconds.
You’ll feel at peace, and delighted by the scenery. You’ll start to notice things you might generally take for granted, so your perspective will change, too.
You Become More Attentive To Your Senses
The key to forest bathing is using as many of your senses as you can. Breathe in the smells, listen to the birds, watch the sun move across the sky, feel the squishy, moss-covered rocks. Focusing on these senses brings you back to the present moment, which is something we’re so disconnected from more often than not.
If you practice forest bathing in this way, you’ll start to notice you’re more attentive to your senses throughout the day, which can benefit your health more than you think.
It Boosts Your Immune System
Studies have shown that trees and plants release the chemical phytoncides, which are what make forested areas smell so pleasant. This chemical helps trees protect themselves from harmful bugs, and it helps us protect ourselves from illness. When I was in college, I was sick all of the time due to the immense amount of stress I was under, and forest bathing can help change that. Your body will be more prepared to fight off infection, so you’ll look and feel healthier.