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What Is Forest Bathing And Why Should We Do It

Written by James, Plant Lover

Trees are the unsung heroes of the world. They take carbon from the atmosphere, support biodiversity, provide us with vital materials, and quite literally make us healthier–both physically and mentally. Spending time under the canopy of these gentle giants is a potent tonic for the stresses of everyday life, whether you consider yourself an outdoorsy person or not.

What is forest bathing

Forest bathing: an elixir for stress & sadness

The gentle rustle of leaves in the wind; an orchestra of lilting birdsong in the treetops; rich brown and earthy green hues; waves of peaceful quiet; gnarled trunks and winding branches. There is no better way to lift your mood than by taking a woodland or forest stroll, which is why the concept of forest bathing has garnered so much interest in recent years.

Forest bathing originated in Japan, where it is known as shinrin yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” It doesn’t get more literal than that.

What is forest bathing1

Why do we need forest bathing?

A survey by CIPHR found that 79% of UK adults feel stressed at least one day a month, and on average, a typical UK adult feels stressed more than twice a week. Stress is an epidemic, intensified by how nature-deprived many of us are. It’s in our instinct to be amongst wildlife, dwarfed by trees, relishing in the fresh air, yet we humans are more disconnected from nature than ever before. Returning to our roots and spending time in nature is the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Also, bringing nature into your home with indoor plants can provide both calming and mood-lifting effects.

Although forest bathing is a new term, humans have been reaping the benefits of this nature-based therapy for centuries. That’s the beauty of it; it’s uncomplicated and accessible to all. But here are some tips to get the most out of the experience.

Turn off your phone

The key to forest bathing is being present, and you can’t do that while on your phone. So fight the urge to snap a pic for the gram, and turn your phone off (or switch on ‘do not disturb’). We're all well aware of how important it is to step away from social media sometimes, and what better time to do that than when you’re indulging in some tree therapy?

Wear comfortable clothing

Fighting the urge to take a woodland selfie segues nicely into the next point: wear something comfy and practical. Forest bathing is all about forgetting the stresses and pressures of modern life, so you might as well get in your comfies and leave any sense of style behind for an hour or two. Wearing uncomfortable clothes is a guaranteed way to make you irritated–which is pretty much the opposite of the goal.

Be slow and mindful

Forest bathing is a light form of exercise that can also lower your blood pressure, but there’s no need to work up a sweat. Instead, the point is to slow down and pay attention to what you usually don’t notice, like falling leaves, insects making their way up tree trunks, squirrels scurrying from branch to branch, and the scent of wildflowers. To feel fully immersed in the nature around you, you should try to engage all five senses.

Go somewhere picturesque

Going somewhere scenic is certainly not a requirement of forest bathing, but it helps. The more natural beauty, the better–which is why we recommend going somewhere that makes you awe-struck. It also helps to be a fair distance away from the chaos of main roads and built-up areas so you can focus on the beauty of the views around you.

Take deep breaths

Deep breathing is the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing walk in nature. Like forest bathing, it can calm your nerves and release built-up tension. So during your walk, try to concentrate on taking slow, deep breaths to take advantage of the fresh, clean air, and wash away the stress.

The Stem & The Benefits of Indoor Plants

Mental health holds a special place in the hearts of the team at The Stem. If you are interested in the history and story of our company, head over to the ‘About Us’ page on our website, which can be found here.

Happiness can stem from plants!

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