Welcome to the latest edition of Igniting Your Dynamic Self with Wendy Bjork. As an international bestselling author, inspirational speaker and guide to others, as well as founder of heartsofwellness.com, it is my mission to help others make forward progress towards living their best lives!
Shinrin-Yoku, the Japanese practice of taking in nature’s atmosphere, has become a popular way to relieve stress and reconnect with our natural world. A growing body of research is proving that spending time in nature, especially the forest, helps to alleviate negative mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety and stress.
Shinrin-yoku, which translates to “bathing in the beauty of nature,” is a therapeutic approach that involves immersing oneself in nature with all of your senses. This practice, which combines the beauty of nature with mindfulness and self-care, has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, while increasing mood and overall well-being.
Why is Shinrin-Yoku good for everyone?
According to Emily Bolton, who runs nature day camps and outdoor reflexology in Pender Harbour, BC, her studies have also shown that shinrin-yoku can lower cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase immune system function. In addition, it is possible to experience the stress-reducing effects of shinrin-yoku by simply walking through a forest and breathing in the aromas of the trees and plants around you.
As humans, we are hardwired to connect with the natural environment. However, modern life often keeps us indoors and away from nature. This disconnect is not good for our well-being, and it’s not what we were designed to do. Shinrin-yoku is a practice that can help you reclaim your connection to the natural world and regain your sense of wellbeing, and it’s something that everyone can benefit from.
During shinrin-yoku, the brain shifts from a state of sustained, directed attention to ‘unfocused’ or ‘non-directed’ attention, which allows the mind to rest and rejuvenate. This shift also gives the brain a break from the ‘fight or flight’ response that is common in modern society, and has been linked to increased risk of mental health problems.
The shinrin-yoku experience can be enjoyed at any time of day or night. In fact, visiting the same forest at different times of the day can reveal new facets of its forest narrative.
While the shinrin-yoku experience has been demonstrated to improve a variety of mental health outcomes, more research is needed in order to better understand the mechanisms of shinrin-yoku’s benefits. In particular, future research should include a greater diversity of participants from different countries and further explore the duration of the effects of shinrin-yoku on depression, anxiety, and stress.
One way of substantiating the benefits is by doing your own research. Simply jotting down how you feel before your forest bath and your feelings afterwards. Creating a shinrin-yoku journal for yourself can be the first step on your new journey. Taking this one step further is by having your journal along during your shinrin-yoku experience. Noting the sounds, the physical aspects at that moment of your visit along with your feelings can be very helpful.
I am interested in your results, feel free to message me at email@example.com or if there is other support I can provide in living your best life. Also feel free to download your copy of 30-Day Blueprint Towards Living Your Best Life . Discovering and living by your personalized playbook are important steps we can create together!
As a best selling author, inspirational speaker and Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Wendy Bjork empowers women to see beyond whatever challenges they are navigating.
She inspires them to boldly live in acceptance, live healthy and free as she teaches them to see life in a different way to fulfill their dreams that have been left on the back-burner for far too long.
Her HeartsofWellness.com platform is the place for women to begin receiving the support they are seeking as they create their roadmap back to freedom and wellness with Wendy lighting their path.
As a pioneer in advocacy and mentorship, Wendy is leading a global revolution of women walking in purpose and peace as she illumines their path ahead with the light of HOPE: Harmony, Options, Peace & Empowerment.
Follow Wendy: heartsofwellness.com/newsletter