“What is a good practice to help de-stress?”
Nature bathing is quite trendy now, but it’s been popular in Japan for decades with some high-stress companies demanding their key employees (in some cases, all employees) take some time off for it. This decades-old Japanese practice of forest bathing or shinrin-yoku (which means ”taking in the forest”) is used to provide stress reduction, relaxation and deeper insights into life.
Scientists have shown that nature bathing lowers cortisol and depression in adults and increases the activity of killer cells that fight off infection and cancer.
An ever-growing amount of research shows that spending more time in natural green spaces such as parks, woodlands, deserts, mountains, and beaches. Such places are said to possess healing properties which underscore the importance of nature on your mental and physical health along with general well-being.
I don’t know why we are suddenly catching on to this free, healthy activity since older studies have shown the benefits of vacations in nature. These studies also show and that even living in greener urban areas is linked to lower incidences of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma, mental distress, and mortality rates.
Too many of us spend hours inside in front of screens. With winter upon us, we will be inside even more. The EPA sponsored a study showing average Americans spend 93% of their indoors.
Just being outside enhances creativity per the scientists at U. of Utah, while other researchers have shown it positively affects the prefrontal cortex which you use for critical thinking, executive functioning, multi-tasking and problem solving – in short making good decisions.
Those of faith report connecting with the Lord, while those who consider themselves spiritual say they connect with their true nature quite quickly and are able to remember who they are and who they want to be. While the scientists report heartbeat slows, healing and “feel good” endorphins are released, disease fighters are activated.
Sounds good. How do you do it?
In the U.S. it is now becoming common to pay certified guides to take folks for walks pointing out the need to slow down, to notice the smells of soil, plants plus the sounds of birds, insects and to take in the wealth of colors.
The simplest version of Nature Bathing (you can readily look up more info.) is when you go out in nature, by however you define nature, though seaside, desert or forest seems best. Many parks and nature preserves these days have something of these sorts.
Be alone as much as is safe and find a quiet place to sit or stand, take off your shoes and be firmly grounded on the earth’s floor and just breathe – deeply and calmly while you sit or stand without any talking for as long as you want.
And then you put on your shoes and go in peace.
Why not take some time and try this tomorrow?
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.