Have you ever wondered what is forest bathing? When was the last time you felt happy? What makes you feel that way. How long does this feeling last? Many people live a hard-working life. Work, work and work again. Year after year they spend their lifetime that way. One lady said: „I don’t know how to be happy, enjoy life, I don’t know how to love myself anymore.” I’m not going to look for an answer today – why we lose ourselves and the feeling of happiness, but I’m going to share my experience with you, of what makes me feel happy.
MY HAPPY WALKS – FOREST BATHING
When I come to the forest, I walk the path, which is densely overgrown with ancient pines, oaks, maples, hazelnuts, and other tall trees. This path is full of hare cabbage, raspberries, blackberries. I look around, forget everything and after a few minutes find myself in the realm of fairy tales. It is the most pleasant feeling for me. It is full of all kinds of noise, the squeaking of pine trees, the chirping of all kinds of birds, the woodpeckers’ hammering sounds, the screaming of winches, the rustling of wind-blown leaves, the murmur of water flowing in a stream.
After about half an hour of walking like this, I feel something fluttering, bubbling, and trying to break out of my chest. All worries, anxiety, tension, negative emotions disappeared. My heart is full of exploding happiness again. I am happy. I always feel very happy in the forest, or by the river bank, where the flowing water creates a magical atmosphere. The sound of waves rustling in the ocean also makes me smile. This time I’m about to tell you about Forest Bathing.
DISCOVER INNER PEACE
It’s necessary to relax and spend some time alone with ourselves, in order to discover inner peace. This will enable us to know our true desires and needs, which we often forget because of hurry. Thus the joy of life is discovered. During the holiday, when I spend time by the ocean it takes me three or four days to fully relax and recharge the energy I need. I wrote about Ocean Therapy earlier. Within just 30 – 45 minutes of being in the forest, you will feel happy and full of good feelings. Thank you, Forest!
Sometimes you simply need to feel those places in nature where the mind calms down and we start smiling. It is magic? When I started writing this article, I wondered, what science says about forests? My sensations in the woods, can they be explained by science?
FOREST BATHING IN JAPAN
Japanese scientists say that walks in the forest regulate blood pressure, reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol, strengthen immunity, increase the number of cells in the immune system that detect pathogens and destroy them. All this was recorded in research. There are many negative ions in the forest air, as well as near the sea or rivers, and they heal our body.
In Japan, Forest Bathing is prescribed by doctors. In this country, people suffer from chronic workaholism syndrome. There were even deaths, so at the state level, they began to look for ways to bring people back to nature. The State set up over 60 forest camps and started organizing trips there. A man arrives at the camp and begins to walk very slowly in the woods with a guide twice a day. It lasts two hours. A maximum of two kilometers is covered in two hours.
WHY MOVING SO SLOW?
When listening to the sounds of the forest, man relaxes, forgets problems and bad thoughts. The Japanese have a name for this therapy – Shinrin-yoku, in English it’s ” Forest Bathing”. Man notices how much is happening all around him when he is in the forest because being there calms the mind and increases his attention. The human body activates all the senses – smell, hearing, touch, sight.
By focusing on our body, ourselves and our senses, we feel alive. It provides great pleasure and joy. We become happy because we feel a part of this environment. Man has evolved in nature for many centuries. The first cities developed naturally, and people were aware of where their food came from. Today’s people are far from nature. This phenomenon lasts only for a few hundred years. Human consciousness is not adapted to living in a city. Our genetic memory is different, so many people complain of insomnia, anxiety, depression and other illnesses. One of the reasons is that people spend too little time in nature now. They spend their time at the computer or watching TV after work.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK AND RETURN TO NATURE
If you feel anxious, depressed, tense, stop and think, maybe you need to change your environment and give yourself a break? Although a small step, it is sometimes absolutely necessary. Do not rush to take medication, turn on the computer or watch a movie. Return to where we all come from – to nature, let the mind rest. You will feel the change very quickly, by taking such breaks.
Japanese researchers say that a weekend in the woods has a therapeutic effect that lasts a month, and a few hours of Forest Bathing lasts a week. Immerse yourself in nature and become aware of it. Take a seat, observe, and feel everything around you. Keep walking for a long time without hurrying. If we move fast, the body releases stress hormones. When the steps slow down, a feeling of pleasure develops, and the healing effect of walking in the forest begins. Let yourself do nothing, have no purpose, just watch the forest, so the mind will rest and you will return home in the best mood.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS
International Day of forests is celebrated on March 21, immediately after the spring equinox. Forests are a natural freshwater filter, a producer of the highest quality freshwater on the planet, constantly replenishing freshwater supplies. One-third of all the world’s largest cities receives fresh water from water reservoirs that are in protected areas under forests. Forests mitigate the climate, purify and filter the air, reduce pollution, protect against floods, erosion and strong winds.
The purpose of commemorating International Day of forests is to draw attention to the importance and significance of all the world’s forests for our planet. The event aims to raise awareness about the importance of forests and plants, to strengthen people’s connection with nature, and to demonstrate the destructive effects of deforestation policies, as well as to suggest ways to stop them. Our ancestors loved and protected forests. Without forests, humanity will disappear. Hug the tree, be grateful. Think about what you can do to save the forest. Thank you for being with us and reading Josephine’s day blog. I wish you a good afternoon and a successful weekend.