LIFE TIP! “Nature. Cheaper than therapy.” A true and amusing sentiment that had to be shared. So let’s talk about it…
I’ll begin with a question – How often do you feel like you need a break from the noise? Like, as if doing the same thing over and over is sapping you of all your energy and you seriously just need to escape before you end up doing something crazy?
Well, in a world dictated by endless hours of work and not enough time to amply enjoy being oneself, losing sight of your identity can sometimes feel undoubtedly inevitable.
HOWEVER, what if I told you that there was a simple way to reconnect with yourself and the world, and all it would take is as little as 20 minutes to achieve…?
Yep, just 20 minutes!
Okay, so, in order to illustrate this point, take a look at the stunning 17th-Century Derbyshire country home of Renishaw Hall pictured below ⇓⇓
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Lush green lawn, trees like towers and the gentle flow of the nearby lake prove a most inviting setting to engage in the Japanese practice known as ‘Shinrin-Yoku’, and, I must admit, Renishaw’s verdant tranquillity really did work wonders.
But, What is ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ and How Does it Improve Happiness?
Others may know of this pursuit better as ‘forest bathing’ (AKA, immersing yourself in a forest setting) which follows the Japanese idea of being healed by nature.
Shinrin-Yoku is a therapeutic technique used to naturally calm the senses and it allows us to reconnect with the forested planet, by literally taking us back to our “roots”. In doing so, it is then said to impart a profound sense of mental and physical peace.
Studies in Japan and South Korea have also backed up this claim, showing that being amongst the trees can actually reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, which in turn drops blood pressure, increases mental clarity and boosts the immune system.
But, how do you achieve this?
Like any form of purification, certain factors need to be introduced and others removed. For instance, if you want to achieve peace, you’ll need a peaceful environment. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that you do not take any distractions (AKA, phones, cameras etc.,) and that you stay as quiet as possible during this process so that you can absorb all of the beautiful sounds of the forest. Listen to the crunch of the leaves underfoot, look at the wildlife that passes you by and really engage with the space around you. Leaving behind all of your outside expectations and allowing your body to wander freely will help you accomplish all of the calming and mood-boosting effects of this process.
Of course, happiness is far from easy to measure or define. After all, every one of us walks a different path and has experienced a different story, so I can’t promise that this one practice will solve all your problems. But, what I can assure you is that its addition in your life will bring you a sense of inner harmony.
Because feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, even if only for a little while, can be so refreshing. And, most importantly, even the busiest of us can find time for it.
This freedom to just “be”, so that you can learn more about yourself through experiencing the beauty of nature (Kachou Fuugetsu (花鳥風月) ‘Flower. Bird. Wind Moon’), is what you need to find in this process. Your happiness is achieved through balance, so if the place for Shinrin-Yoku is right, this restoration should be easy.
“Chase the feeling. Nature is healing.”
“How to Be Free” a poem expressing the power of Shinrin-Yoku