The term "forest bathing" conjures up all kinds of mental images. It's scientifically proven to be a great stress reliever, and don't worry, there's no reason to disrobe and you probably won't need a towel.

There's plenty to makes us all feel the pressure with non-stop pandemic news, guidelines, and protocols, plus the holidays are here. All of us could benefit from some Forest bathing. It's a Japanese concept known as Shinrin-yoku and involves spending some times in the outdoors, specifically in the forests.

Don't think taking a hike, going for a run, or ascending a mountain peak. Simply get yourself in mother nature's world with birds, streams, and in come cases, just pure quietness. Walk leisurely and if possible, just sit and soak it all in.

forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol (the so-called “fight or flight” stress hormone), lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments

Jane Dobson, a Mindful Outdoor Nature Guide with Mind the Forest shared her experience in a blog with the New York State Parks following a trip to Minnewaska State Park Preserve with a group of 10 people. Here are 5 suggestions she offers to get the most of out of your forest bath:

  • Don’t worry about being in the forest, any nearby park or natural open area will do
  • Do some basic stretches before walking into the remote area
  • Take three full minutes before starting to breathe and relax.
  • Move slowly and deliberately, take time to stop and listen.
  • Take time to sit down.

Read more on the experience at the NY Parks website.

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