What Is Forrest Bathing And Should I Be Doing It?

forrest bathing

The Let Go – Personal Musings: Charisse Glenn

Finding balance in our busy lives can be challenging. We look for activities to blow off steam while also maintaining social and work obligations.

Even when we take the time to work out, we often push for the burn, going the extra lap, or adding more weight to lift. While working out is a great energy outlet, it can contribute to more stress. In other words, frequently those activities are accompanied by loud music or ear pods to listen to our motivational jam.

Our technological and urban lives have taken us away from the natural world. Separated from nature, we have become unbalanced.

“Benefits from partnering with a variety of modalities can assist in the balance.”

Equilibrium of body, mind, and spirit is essential to wellness. Yet, often we don’t realize the very things we think are helping are lacking, or worse, may be contributing to the stress we are hoping to dissipate. Benefits from partnering with a variety of modalities can assist in the balance.

There is a time to do less.

Shinrin-Yoku Connects Us Back To Nature:

Shinrin-yoku speaks to me. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest ambiance, essentially taking in the forest through our senses.

In Japan, forest bathing is a practice; it is not exercising or hiking. It is simply being amongst trees in nature, taking in the sights, smells, sounds, and feel. By doing so, the approach of shinrin-yoku (forrest bathing) connects us back to nature.

Why Is This Important?

Nature itself always strives for stable equilibrium or homeostasis. Humans originally were a part of this balance and lived harmoniously within nature. But unfortunately, this is no longer the case, and we inadvertently have thrown ourselves out of balance because of this disharmony.

“Exposure to nature, even just viewing it, has been shown to reduce anger, fear, and worry while simultaneously increasing pleasant feelings, thus soothing emotions.”

We have all experienced environments that increase or reduce our stress, impacting our bodies. What we see, hear, smell, and experience changes our moods, affecting our nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. Experiencing an unpleasant environment can cause us to feel anxious, sad, or uneasy.

Nature heals. Exposure to nature, even just viewing it, has been shown to reduce anger, fear, and worry while simultaneously increasing pleasant feelings, thus soothing emotions. It contributes to reducing the production of stress hormones lowering blood pressure and heart rates. Studies have shown it helps cope with pain taking the focus away from ourselves and onto the intricacies of nature. Forrest bathing can be a great addition to one’s life.

How To Do It? Practice Forrest Bathing:

There is no one size fits all technique or place which is perfect. The only given is to leave your devices in the car. No phones, no cameras. This is your time. Finding a forest in itself can prove challenging, if not impossible for many, without taking a road trip, so the good news is, we can receive the benefits of forest bathing in many ways.

Ideally, a forest or wooded area is excellent yet, a nature walk with trees, a botanical garden, or a public park is lovely. A neighborhood community garden or even walking on a country road are places to practice shinrin-yoku. In other words, once you have learned how to do it, you can forest-bathe anywhere in the world, in any weather; rain, shine, or snow.

“Coming to a standstill can be a foreign concept with the perceived need to accomplish constantly.”

Begin with a mindset adjustment. Above all, let go of your need to do anything. Sometimes we have been so busy, rushing around it’s hard to slow down. Coming to a standstill can be a foreign concept with the perceived need to accomplish constantly.

Human Being:

This is a  practice of being—a human being, not a human doing.

If you are with others, speak, if at all, with whisper voices. Allow yourself to wander, moving slowly. Let your body and your senses guide you. There is no schedule to follow, no right or wrong choices. Savor each moment. Stop, reflect, taking in the environs with each cell of your being. 

Witness the complexity of nature, the veins in a leaf, the interconnectedness of the flora. Bathe in the sounds. How many can you identify? Connect to the smells. Do you like the damp smell of the forest floor? How do the aromas make you feel? Allow your eyes to relax. Take in the height of the trees and the vastness of the views. Enjoy your forrest bathing.

Breathe. Let Go:

Touch the leaves on the ground, wrap your arms around a tree’s trunk, or enjoy the sound of the creek flowing. In addition, feel the leaves of the plants as you explore. Are they soft or coarse? Do they release fragrance as you touch them? Drink in all that you feel.

“Notice how the quiet absorb your stress.”

Moreover, the beauty of forest bathing is to allow our senses to awaken. Lie down on the earth. Breathe. Let go. Close your eyes. After that, notice how the quiet absorbs your stress.

When we allow nature to enter us, we unlock the power of her medicine. We do nothing yet become more. More focused, more balanced, more joyful, and calmer.

In conclusion, doing less is a thing. Understand there is a time for everything. We make room for living more when we do less. Now, find a tree and get to some forrest bathing!

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About the Author:

Charisse Glenn, Casting Director, Equestrian, and Creator of The Let Go. She is 62, gray, aging gracefully and has lots to say. Charrise is half Japanese and has the wisdom of that culture she was born into. She has been a casting director for commercials in Los Angeles for 35 years and is an equestrian having competed in 100-mile horse races around the world.

The initiative she writes, called The Let Go serves as a reminder to let go of all that no longer works in our lives, opening a pathway to happiness, love, and balance. Proudly she embraces the freedoms age provides serving as a role model to both men and women. She is a badass with a beautiful soft touch. You can find her on either her website , or follow her on The Let Go in Instagram.

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