What is Forest Bathing?

What is Forest Bathing?
The other day, I asked my kids if they wanted to learn the art of Forest Bathing. "Mom! You want us to take a bath in the forest?" exclaimed my son. I had a good chuckle. "Not exactly," I said.

So, what is forest bathing? Emerging in the 1980s from Japan, it was an exercise called shinrin-yoku ("forest bathing" or "taking in the forest atmosphere"). The Japanese promoted this concept to offer its people a remedy to burnout and to inspire them to reconnect and protect the county's forests.

While the word "forest" is in the name, don't fret—heading out to a wooded area isn't needed. It's also typically low-impact, so you don't have to go on intense trail runs or long hikes. You can go to a local park, walk along your favorite trail, or sit on a sandy beach—any place you can go where you will be surrounded by nature.

Once you've reached your destination, take a few deep breaths and center yourself. Focus on what your senses are absorbing—the scent of the ocean air, the sound of chirping birds, or how the trees sway in the wind. From there, you can merely sit or take a leisurely walk without a specific destination. It is essential to let your mind and senses explore and enjoy the environment. There is no set amount of time you need to do this. The goal of forest bathing is to calm your body and mind. It should become a weekly or daily activity you look forward to and appreciate.

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