Forest bathing is the intentional practice of being connected with nature, and being surrounded by the natural world’s energy. As I’ve experienced it myself for a full week, I can conclude that a critical piece to it is your intention.
Forest bathing isn’t just taking a leisurely stroll in the woods and enjoying the scenery. There is a specific intention of connecting to the natural world, as well as gaining energy and benefit from it. Essentially, you’re bathing in the Earth’s energy.
Keep on reading as I’ve listed the things that I learned as I immersed myself in nature. I’m sure you’ll find them as reasons to do the same!
Table of Contents
- First of all: why did I want to try forest bathing?
- What did I learn from trying forest bathing for a week?
- The paragraph I promised you: HOW to do forest bathing to gain maximum results?
- FAQ: All you need to know about Forest Bathing
Still not sure that forest bathing is something for you..?
If you are sitting in front of your computer or on your phone and want some inspiration, I would advise you to have a look at this short Youtube clip. It features how beautiful nature can be & what nature means to your health:
First of all: why did I want to try forest bathing?
Simply because I was so stressed out at work that I felt dizzy, stressed and my muscles started to get sore. Working in a huge digital marketing company in the middle of Shanghai sucks out your energy. 12 hour working days, stress from your work and constant noise pollution surrounding your office and home are just some of the elements that will create tension in your body.
That also made me able to write an article featuring all the top parks and forests surrounding Shanghai. I was forced to find them – and I wanted that information to be available in English online.
Anyway. This article is not about why I had to do forest bathing, but how it helped me to destress. If you want to know more about HOW I did my forest bathing to get most out of it, there is a paragraph about that at the end of the article.
I have read quite a lot of other bloggers/website owners trying to do the same. In fact, it’s quite interesting how our experiences are more or less the same.
What did I learn from trying forest bathing for a week?
Increased Energy Levels
From this contemplative experience, I’ve found that the body is able to rejuvenate itself from the anti-stress hormones that are produced on a daily basis. Especially when you take deep breaths, the forest revitalizes the mind and body, which allows you to feel free from stress and become more energetic.
Nature increases vigor and fights fatigue, which is why I felt so refreshed both during and after experiencing the wonders of the trees, the leaves, and the sky. The forest triggers in us the production of cortisol and dopamine, which is why it has a calming effect.
The air in the forest is noticeably fresher compared to city air. As you may already know, trees convert CO2 into oxygen. Because there’s no pollution in the air and D-limonene is released by trees, you can feel inflammation in the body starting to get reduced. If you have COPD or asthma, forest bathing won’t just lower inflammation but will also help you breathe better.
Before I tried forest bathing myself, I heard people saying it helps cure insomnia. Low and behold, it actually improved the quality of my sleep. It significantly increased my sleep’s duration and relaxed my mind and body. This peaceful experience definitely allowed me to sleep better at night.
After I “stopped” forest bathing, I started to do yoga before I went to bed. That had the exact same effect. Honestly, I believe it has something to do with not looking at your phone/TV before going to bed, but simply making sure that the body relaxes.
Helps Regulate Mood
Forest bathing is known to boost mood. Having dealt with stress myself, I highly recommend it, especially for people with high confusion levels or anxiety as it has, in fact, helped me deal with my condition.
Since the experience reduces stress levels, bonding with nature through forest bathing gave me a much better mood and outlook in life.
Now, I am not saying that forest bathing will help people who are depressed or anxious. As I have no medical background at all, that would be a quite bold statement. But I have read a lot of experiences from people that claim that it helped them with depression/anxiety. Forest bathing definitely helped my mind become clearer.
Improves Ability to Focus
Studies have shown that simply looking at images of the forest increases our ability to focus. As you take a stroll in the forest, you’ll see even better results at improving your ability to focus! The increased attention span and better concentration might be because of the interaction with nature.
Fatigue is also lowered due to nature’s calming effect.
You might not think that getting out in the forest or park early in the morning would have a positive effect on your energy level. But it actually does.
The paragraph I promised you: HOW to do forest bathing to gain maximum results?
1. Find a forest or park area with fewer people. If you live in a city, it might be hard to find. That’s when you have to start to become creative.
Go early in the morning (like 5:00 – I am not joking). Or very late at night. You can’t really get peaceful at Central Park in New York between 08:00 and 21:00. That’s just how it is.
2. Do not bring any electronic devices. “I will bring my cellphone just in case something bad happens” is an argument that I have heard people use.
Alright then. Fair enough. But DO NOT TURN IT ON unless something really bad happens. This is so important.
3. Bring something to eat or drink. You will need that.
4. Try to spend at least two hours sitting at the same spot. Despite the fact that the goal is to sit and enjoy all the natural surroundings, you shouldn’t really try too hard. If you spend enough time to sit and relax, these feelings will come naturally.
FAQ: All you need to know about Forest Bathing
Q: Can you do it alone?
Absolutely. Forest bathing is actually done best alone.
I once tried to bring my friend to a “forest bathing” session. However, that unfortunately often turns into a “normal walk in the woods”, which is not what you should be looking for. Unless you know someone that shares the exact same forest bathing format as you, you shouldn’t bring anyone.
Q: What happens during a forest bathing session?
This is actually 100 % up to you. However, there are certain activities that are quite normal to do.
2. Walking around the forest in a gentle way. 50 % of your normal “walking speed” is normal.
3. Explore nature.
The most important thing is that you de-stress and do not spend any time thinking about the bad stuff in your life. It’s all about positive energy.
If you haven’t done meditation before, you might think of it as something ridiculous. However, this is something that actually made me achieve a lot of the stuff that I did recently – including building up this website to become quite successful.
Q: Any tips to do forest bathing more often?
Yep. Get yourself a nice little cabin in the woods. This is mine:
I am SO happy that my family bought one. Escaping city life and living close to nature has done wonders for me. If you want to know more about the advantages of ‘getting out to the woods’, I can strongly recommend this article.
Q: Is forest bathing the same as digital detox?
Well…digital detox is definitely a part of forest bathing. You should not bring any electronic devices with you (unless they are turned off during the whole session).
In this article. I explain 7 reasons why I succeeded with a digital detox.
Forest bathing is quickly gaining popularity across the globe and it’s not hard to see why. The extensive benefits that forest bathing offers are enough reasons why you should also experience it for yourself. Just remember to feel as if you are becoming one with nature and breathing in the energy of the forest because you are.
Before I tried forest bathing, I actually thought about this as a hippy thing. Honestly, I had no idea what I could get from it. But once I learned that “screen detox” and getting closer to nature actually have a huge impact on your mental health, I started to get interested. Now, I am not saying that forest bathing is the solution to your stress problems. But I can tell you that it actually helped me quite a lot to cope with my worklife and social life.
5 thoughts on “5 Things I Learned from a Week of Forest Bathing”
There was a huge study published by British scientists. They had looked at a lot of Norwegian and Finnish people that live far North. The problem with these people is that they do not see the sunlight during the winter months, which makes them depressed. And, unfortunately, that leads to many suicides.
However, the scientists saw that going out in the woods actually had a positive impact on their mental health. This is a type of forest bathing that is quite interesting – and with well-documented results.
But can a trip into nature really strengthen mental health?
– There is good evidence that physical activity improves symptoms of depression and that it improves even more if this activity takes place outdoors.
The study showed that forest bathing can cure:
– Suicidal thoughts
– And that spending 20 minutes a day walking or sitting in a place where you find yourself in touch with nature reduces the level of stress hormone in your body
Can you tell that you’re much more relaxed AFTER doing forest bathing or is it just DURING forest bathing?
I am worried that when I return to the city again, I will be completely the same as I was before I went out.
Hello Max, this is a really good question. I have been thinking about this quite a lot. Not only when I do forest bathing, but also when I do meditation and yoga.
Because – sure. Your body will feel 1000 times more relaxed during the yoga or forest bathing session. And there’s no reason to doubt that is very healthy. At the same time, if your boss comes at you and calls your phone the minute you’re back in town, you start to get stressed again.
Frankly, I do not know. What I know is that these activities help me a lot to de-stress in the moment, but I am not sure about the long-term benefits.
Is it important that I go far away from the city for forest bathing?
I’ve never done it before. Recently I also felt dizzy at work because of all the stress. I urgently need to get away from this life
Hello Thomas. No reason to go too far away from the city center.
For instance, and without having ever been to New York, I would assume that Central Park is a perfect place to do it. As long as it’s silent and quiet around you, there is no reason to go too far away.