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Feeling stressed? Get outdoors for a Forest Bath!

A walk in the woods

We all know that when life can get stressful, a walk in nature has the ability to make us think that everything will be alright, even if things haven't  really changed. It happened to me recently, typical scenario too many 'to-do's' and not enough time, I could feel the little stress daggers start to dig into my brain. I looked out the window and saw it was a beautiful morning, so leaving the 'to-do's screaming for attention I took myself outside and went for a walk in some nearby woods. The lovely woody smell of the forest and sound of wind rustling through the  leaves immediately calmed my slightly jagged edges.  I returned home with a greater sense of clarity and purpose and the 'to-do's' were soon quietened down.

I later found an article written about a Japanese practise called Shinrin Yoku, which loosely translated means forest bathing, this sounded very similar to what I had done that morning. The difference being that in Japan its a medical treatment and prescribed by doctors for those who are suffering from burn out. Out in public forests designated walking trails are available for people to stroll, stop and listen to the sounds and smells of the forest. Participants are encouraged to switch off phones and really focus on the natural environment surrounding them. Recent studies have shown that those who took part reduced a stress hormone called cortisol by 16%, as well as reducing blood pressure. However the biggest discovery was a 40% increase in white blood cell levels which are critical in fighting cancer. The surge is believed to be caused by inhaling chemicals called phytoncides which are released from trees.

Therefore seeking out nature moments in our daily life can only be a good thing. It doesn't mean we have to up sticks and move into a tree house though that might be fun! just being aware of what's around us and really immersing ourselves in that moment can be beneficial. A prime example of this is getting outdoors when ever possible. Not only does it feel great to move our bodies in nature but also we put ourselves in an optimal state for really opening our senses and experiencing a deep connection with the environment that surrounds us.

So, next time you're feeling like you need some time out, head for the great outdoors and put some nature back into your day. It could just be the mood enhancer you're looking for.


Read more tips on de-stressing:

5 Healthy Tips I Shared With Whitehall

Slightly Salty Yoga Interview

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