A walk in the woods in a great way to end a stressful day. Following a path through the trees, you hear birds calling to each other; rustling as squirrels dart from tree to tree; see sunlight peeping through the leaves at you; and as you take a deep breath you inhale the earthy green scent of trees, plants and moss. Your heartbeat slows and the busy thoughts in your head become less frantic and appear less important at this moment in time.
The Japanese have a name for it. Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is based on our human need to be in nature. Research has shown that our nervous systems are calmed when we reconnect with nature, and one of the best ways to do this to to take a walk in woodland, where you are surrounded by nature.
What’s the difference between forest bathing and taking a walk in the woods?
Put simply, the intention behind it. Often when we walk we go for exercise or to get somewhere. With forest bathing, the intention is purely to experience a heightened awareness.
One of the easiest ways is to walk slowly and mindfully. Pay attention to the ground, the feeling of the ground under your shoes, the noise each footstep makes, the muscles you’re using in your feet and legs for every step you take. Place your foot down carefully and intentionally – heel first, and roll through your foot in a forward motion, spreading your toes out as they hit the ground. Breathe deeply, don’t talk, don’t check your phone or listen to a podcast, instead pay attention to your walking and your surroundings. Doing this for just 10 minutes of so will calm your mind and relax your body.
It’s amazing everyday!