Mental Health Ministries

Forest Bathing

Forest BathingOne of my favorite places is Redwood National Park in Northern California. There is something indescribable about standing underneath these massive redwoods. Redwood trees are the tallest, among the oldest, and one of the most massive tree species on earth. I feel a sense of calm and a release of stress as I look up at these magnificent trees.

Shinrin-Yoku or forest bathing is the practice of spending time in the forest for better health, happiness and a sense of calm. A pillar of Japanese culture for decades, Shinrin-Yoku is a way to reconnect with nature, from walking mindfully in the woods, to a break in your local park, to walking barefoot on your lawn. Psychological research is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition.

In this time of COVID, connecting with nature is even more important. You can forest-bathe anywhere like in your garden or nearby park. Having plants in your living space is another way to be nurtured and connected by nature. Whatever you do, taking time to feel connected to nature will enhance your overall sense of well-being.