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How I conquered anxiety with weekly forest bathing

Anxiety is a problem we all experience in some way. The severity and frequency of it relies on our ability to maintain a unique emotional equilibrium. Sometimes there are aspects we can control, but many times these elements are outside of our control and we have to simply deal with them.

This unprecedented year has been quite the rollercoaster with the added social, political, and environmental stresses. Compound that with the inability to freely move around due to COVID-19 and we have a recipe for anxiety.

Forest Bathing

Getting outside, soaking up the sun, breathing in the fresh air, isn’t just refreshing, it’s proven medicine to better heal your body from past anxiety and prevent future stress.

Humans have always enjoyed forest environments; the quiet atmosphere, beautiful scenery, surrounding climate, pleasant aromas, and fresh clean air. It’s hard not to enjoy time spent in wooded environments. In Japan, since 2004, many studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of forest environments on human health and wellness. Establishing a new medical science called Forest Medicine. The Forest Medicine is a new interdisciplinary science, belonging to the categories of alternative medicine, environmental medicine and preventive medicine. Encompassing the effects of forest environments on the human body, health and longevity.

Can you remember the last time you stood in the middle of the woods just taking it all in? Do you remember the way you felt more connected? The feelings created during forest bathing can lead to reduced blood pressure, heart rate, stress hormones and activity of the sympathetic nerves. Studies have reported that forest bathing environments provide various benefits to the human body and contribute to our overall health.

The “Effects of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) on levels of cortisol as a stress biomarker: a systematic review and meta-analysis” study, states the results of its Profile of Mood States (POMS) test shows decreased scores for anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion. And an increased scores for vigor, showing psychological effects as well.

These findings suggest that forest environments may have preventive effects and lasting benefits on lifestyle-related diseases. The study also links forest bathing to long-term preventive effects on cancers with the increased human natural killer (NK) activity, the increased number of the NK cells, and anti-cancer proteins. So why not make a plan to get out and enjoy that hike you’ve been waiting to take! And while you’re with the trees, take time to slow down, stop, look up, around, and feel the healing energy that is naturally supplied for all of us… for free. Thank you mother earth!

Get outside!

There is so much joy, peace, and insight found in the forest amid the trees and amongst the creatures that call it home. The notable happiness it brings our four legged friends alone, should show you the benefits and potential healing effects it can have. Connecting with the earths energy can be the most organic and cost effective medicine you can use. If you’re looking for some awesome New Jersey hiking trials, leave a comment and we’ll help you get started, we’ve been practicing this healing art weekly since March 2020.

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About Sarah Flaherty

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