‘Forest bathing’ is path to peace

Shinrin-yoku. The term originated in Japan.

In the 1980s this label was attached to a physiological and psychological exercise. It translates to “forest bathing” — simply absorbing and appreciating the atmosphere of a forest.

You don’t have to immerse yourself in some far-off wilderness. Just walking in any natural environment and making an effort to connect with your surroundings is beneficial.

Some of us may be lucky enough to live in an area where we can simply step out our back door to enjoy some quietude, serenity and clean, crisp, fresh air. Maybe you live within walking distance of a park or trailhead.

Think trailheads for clearing your head. A little mental floss to momentarily flick those little nagging, negative thoughts out of the crevices in our brain.

Take some deep breaths as you walk, jog or bike. It will remind you that the world is still turning on its axis, that birds still sing, squirrels scamper and dogs bark after them.

The Japanese had two goals for shinrin-yoku: to relieve workday stress and reconnect people with their natural resources, to inspire an appreciative and protective culture.

Please wait, though, until it is once again safe to resume your forest bathing.

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