Have you ever noticed how calming it can be to sit under the trees in a park or walk through the bush or forest? The Japanese have a name for immersing yourself in nature for relaxation- they call it ‘forest bathing’- and it’s recognised for its health and stress management benefits.
Forest bathing can be as simple as taking time-out in your own backyard, all you need is to surround yourself with greenery and, if possible, some running water. The benefits are due to ‘nature’s anti-depressants’ aka negative ions. A negative ion is an atom (or molecule) with an extra electron, giving it a negative charge. Basically negative ions are produced naturally via water molecule movement (evaporation, waterfalls, surf, rain etc) which is why they are so often found around water and in nature, and they affect the serotonin levels in the brain. Think about how great a fresh sea breeze makes you feel- that’s negative ions at work!
I always try to take at least 10 minutes each day to just sit outside. I usually take a cup of herbal into the backyard and soak up some vitamin D with my negative ions mid morning. I have a small pond with a tap style fountain and the sound of that bubbling water just adds to my little escape. If I’m working outside the home I have my lunch just outside the building on the grass under a big old Morten Bay fig tree. Or if I’m lucky and get an extended lunch break I pop down to the Botanic Gardens and soak up the beautiful exotic atmosphere there. The beautiful Angel Trumpet tree at the top of this post is on my way to work and if I get my timing right I can squeeze in five minutes on the bench underneath to bathe in its glorious scent. It’s amazing how that little intermission from everyday work/life for reconnection with nature makes a huge difference to my wellbeing. That breath of fresh air is quite literally doing you good.
Do you make time for time-out outside? Do you have particular nature spots for relaxation or invigoration? Please share below!
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