Taking a bath in the forest?
A quick search on google describes forest bathing as the following. "Forest bathing catalyzes increased parasympathetic nervous system activity which prompts rest, conserves energy, and slows down the heart rate while increasing intestinal and gland activity. Lower cortisol concentrations are also a signal that the body's stress-response system is being triggered less."
So what does that even mean? In short, "forest bathing" or being engulfed by nature can positively affect the human body. Connecting with nature can lower stress, decrease emotional triggers, and normalize bodily functions. As humans, our society has moved away from a traditional nomadic lifestyle of hunter-gatherers and moved towards hardworking, city-dwelling self-isolating, populations. We have isolated ourselves from nature more and more through time as we build concrete buildings to live in, and wear shoes made of synthetic material. We are no longer able to pick up the negative ions from the earth. Walking barefoot and being in nature are said to re-charge the body. Being surrounded by electronic devices 24/7, have limited the amount of groundedness we experience. A really great documentary explains this posted here.
The Earthing Movie: The Remarkable Science of Grounding.
Humans tend to find nature sounds soothing. The sound of rain, crickets, birds, and running water tends to contribute to decompression. It is innate and built into us that would gravitate to these sounds. We have sectioned ourselves off from spending as much time in nature as we were supposed to, leading to increased depression and anxiety in our population. Think about how you feel after a cottage or camping getaway. You are eating outside, walking around without shoes, finding groundedness from not insulating yourself indoors. Just by jumping into a lake, you are re-charging yourself with negative ions from the earth. Being connected to nature does something to the body. It allows us to reconnect and reset. Next time you are experiencing a mood or disconnection, go for a hike in a safe, tree-covered area. Sit on the grass, on a log, or in the sand and see how forest bathing can elevate your body, mind and spirit.