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  • Writer's pictureRachel Davies

Shinrin Yoku: Calm your mind and body by spending time in nature

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Shinrin Yoku, also known as 'forest bathing', is a practice that involves immersing oneself in nature to promote physical and mental health. This practice, which originated in Japan, has been gaining popularity worldwide due to its many benefits. One of the main benefits of Shinrin Yoku is its ability to help manage chronic stress which so many of us are dealing with on a daily basis.

Why do I need to worry about chronic stress?

Stress is a natural part of daily life, and a normal physiological and psychological response to challenging situations. In fact, a little bit of good stress, or 'eustress', can often encourage the body to adapt and drive us to achieve great focus. Exercise is a good example of 'eustress'. But 'distress' or bad stress, especially when experienced over extended periods of time, can be extremely detrimental to our physical and mental health. Think digestive issues, hormone imbalance, lowered immunity and much more. For more details on how chronic stress affects the body, check out my blog here.

How does Shinrin Yoku impact stress?

Incorporating practices to help mitigate the impact of chronic stress and also to adjust our perception to stress is critical to physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. That's where Shinrin Yoku comes in. Research has shown that Shinrin Yoku has a measurable impact on reducing indicators of chronic stress, especially reducing levels of cortisol, one of the body's main stress hormones. Whilst cortisol is needed as part of daily life, (it is what gets us up in the morning and it is part of a normal, functioning stress response), issues start to arise when cortisol is chronically elevated. Studies have also demonstrated that Shinrin Yoku boosts mood, especially in those with depressive tendencies.

How to practice Shinrin Yoku?

To practice Shinrin Yoku, find a quiet and peaceful spot in nature, such as a forest, park, or garden. Spend at least 20 minutes in this environment, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Engage your senses by listening to the birds, feeling the breeze on your skin, and inhaling the scent of the plants. Leave your phone and other distractions behind, and focus on being present in the moment. Maybe practice some deep breathing whilst you are at it.

So when your life-load is starting to weigh heavy, or even better as a way to build your resilience to stress, consider taking a 'forest bath' and immerse yourself in the healing power of nature.

If you'd like some more support dealing with your stress load and revitalising your health and wellbeing, why not book in for a FREE 20 minute Health and Wellbeing Review call to discuss your health goals. I'd love to support you in building your resilience and getting you back to feeling your best again.

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