Forest Bathing – What is It and Why is It Good for You?
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
In my inbox was a curious email from my healthcare company that caught my eye.
The title was "Forest Bathing and Mental Health: It's in Our Nature". Hmm. What on earth does that mean? So I clicked the button that said "Keep Reading", and found a description of an old Japanese practice that made so much sense to me.
According to verywellmind.com, the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku translates to "taking in the medicine or atmosphere of the forest". This de-stress tactic began in Japan in the 1980's for our highly stressed tech boom society.
Forest bathing is back around again, and popular in nations globally due to our over-productive world with too much to do and not enough time. Sound familiar?
What is Forest Bathing?
Forest bathing is good for meditation and protects the forests, as people want and need lush green landscape to hike, walk, or just sit and relax, taking in all the smells, sights, and sounds in a natural habitat.
As nationageographic.com reports, "time immersed in nature is good for us". It's walking "in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what's around you".
What better place to do this than New England?
We have so many beautiful places to enjoy in nature, with some of the highest peaks and beautiful valleys in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. The White Mountains seem like the perfect place to breathe in some nature.
Whether you like nature or not, it's good to connect with Mother Earth on a basic level.
Forest bathing is not bathing, nor hiking. You can do it near water, or amongst the trees in a park. It's being mindful, and clearing your mind of the clutter and taking in what's around you in that moment.
It's stopping while walking or hiking, and just sitting for a moment to look, smell, and listen to what's around you. It's taking in a moment in nature, feeling bark on a tree and looking up at how tall they are, touching water in a pond, or smelling the sweet fragrance of lilies of the valley.
Doesn't that sound relaxing? It's good for you mood and immunity.
Forest Bathing is the newest "old world" health benefit everyone is talking about right now. Try it. It's free and calming, but put your phone on silent. Obviously. Better yet, leave it at home.