To take a forest bath is to stroll through the woods while paying close attention to your senses. Your goal is to slow down, quiet your mind, and take in the sights, sounds, scents, textures, (and occasionally tastes) of the forest.
In 1990, Chiba University researcher Yoshifumi Miyazaki found that forest bathing led to lower levels of stress and boosted immune function.
Here are some tips to help you try forest bathing.
1. Find A Spot You Love
Find a spot in nature that makes you feel peaceful and relaxed. While you don’t need to be in total isolation, you’ll want to avoid crowded places. If you love the sound of running water, see if you can start your forest bath near a river or stream. If the smell of damp soil makes you happy, seek out a shady grove.
2. Leave Your Cell Phone Behind
Even better, leave behind as much as you can. The fewer possessions you’re carrying, the more you’ll be able to focus on the feeling of your body moving through the landscape. Don’t worry about where you’re going; let your senses and curiosity be your guide.
3. Open Your Senses
Listen for birds and the rustling of leaves. Look at the different colors of foliage and the pattern of shadows from sunlight through the branches. Inhale to smell and taste the aroma of the soil, moss, and trees. Press your hands against tree trunks to feel the texture of the bark; sit or lie on the ground to get a fresh perspective.
4. Take Your Time
Unlike a hike or even a walk, you’re not trying to get from Point A to Point B. You might not wander more than a few dozen yards in any direction. The goal is to open yourself up to the landscape and let it work its gentle magic to relax and restore you.
Ready to try forest bathing yourself? Book an escape to nature today.