De-Stressing Through Forest Bathing

There is a considerable body of research that shows that rates of anxiety, depression and mood disorders are elevated in urban dwellers and those in competitive work environments. Now, imported from Japan, comes a new and rather unique method for combating stress—forest bathing.

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De-Stressing Through Forest Bathing

De-Stressing Through Forest Bathing

Life in the 21st century has never been more convenient, safer and healthier. Yet, with urbanization and technology, life has also never seemed so stressful. There is a considerable body of research that shows that rates of anxiety, depression and mood disorders are elevated in urban dwellers and those in competitive work environments.  Modern humans have adopted numerous ways to cope with stress, ranging from the harmful (e.g., drinking, drugs) to the helpful (e.g., exercise, meditation).

Now, imported from Japan, comes a new and rather unique method for combating stress—forest bathing.

The Elements of Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is spending quiet time in a forest, “bathing” in the sensory experience of a still forest. The elements of forest bathing are very simple:

  • A slow walk, absent of any plan or course, guided only by instinct or human senses
  • Relaxed breathing
  • Opening senses to the sights, sounds, feel and smell of the forest
  • Ignoring thoughts of work, chores and why your favorite football team is so bad this season

This means no phone or camera. Typical walks may last up to three hours, which individuals can do on their own or with a forest bathing guide. If a guide sounds silly, think about yoga or meditation and the value a guide brings to that experience.

There exists extensive research that points to the very real health benefits of forest bathing, including reduced stress, more energy, better mood and improved immunity defenses, though more longitudinal research remains. It may even increase the ability of children with ADHD to focus, improve recovery time from surgery or illness, and improve sleep.

Of course, there is nothing new about escaping to nature to relax and restore the human spirit. Poets have captured this yearning well:

 I Wandered as a Lonely Cloud

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”

—William Wordsworth

Advisors might be surprised to find a forest bathing guide in their local communities. (Perform a Google search to see!) And, traditional physicians are getting on board. One organization, ParkRx America, is dedicated to growing the number of traditional physicians who will “prescribe nature” to patients suffering from chronic diseases in the course of delivering health care.

Don’t wait.  Get out there and explore the healing side of nature.

Please reference disclosures: https://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/

About The Author

Melissa Dolber-Grappone

 

Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications 
631.439.4600, ext. 108 

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