We live in an age where almost everyone around us is anxious and stressed, be it adults or teenagers or children. The pressure to achieve and outperform, the need to fulfil the endless desires that we have, the numerous distractions around us, the addiction to gadgets and the constant need for validation from social media – all these lead us to overthink and shut down our positive emotions. Little wonder that depression is on a rapid rise and stress has become a global epidemic. Most of us live with anxiety on a regular basis.
Wandering into a forest or the woods in order to slow down and tune into our emotions is a great way of healing ourselves from stress, anxiety and mental disorders. ‘Ecotherapy’, the idea of connecting with nature to focus on our well-being is popular in many parts of the world. The Japanese prescribe “Forest bathing’ or “shinrin-yoku” – taking in the forest through our senses. It is a way of opening our senses to the natural world. Immersing ourselves in nature elevates our mood and even boosts the immune system, according to research. More and more people are resorting to the healing power of nature.
The sounds in the forest, the textures on the forest floor, the fallen leaves, the gentle breeze and rustling of branches, the brushing of leaves against our skin, the chirping of birds and the occasional sound of a rippling stream … all these are therapeutic. They help us slow down our over-thinking minds and help us connect with our roots.
Sit for a while under a tree – breathe, be mindful… and notice the ease with which we can change a stressful emotion to a more positive, self compassionate one.
Try it. Renew yourself!