FOREST & NATURE BATHING
... Mindfulness in Nature
This BBC video demonstrates what Forest Bathing is.
Evidence shows this practice can help de-stress, improve mood & feelings, decrease anxiety, boost the immune system and lower blood pressure, among many other benefits
Here, another BBC video expands further on the evidence:
SOME FOREST BATHING PARTICIPANT COMMENTS
“I enjoyed increased resilience during the weeks after the walks, a sense of belonging to the forest and the forest belonging to me. I felt more grounded and at home on the earth in Devon. An increased sense of community too, with other participants and the forest" ~ Henry
“I felt nourished, connected, more alive and awake ... It was lovely to be in a supported, led, group and a group field where I could just let go into an experience which I felt has left an imprint and opened an invitation” ~ David
“I have never experienced being guided by a facilitator who was aware of how I might be experiencing the forest or that I may have different needs, as a sensitive person. I felt there was a balance of being left to explore and invitations being offered. It all felt very safe and comfortable with Daniela and the group” ~ Nicky
"I seem to be carrying the sense of forest when I am not physically there. The sense of peace that being in the forest brings and the attunement to the sounds of the natural world, seem to have been awoken even more than they were before" ~ Roly
“Shinrin Yoku” or Forest Bathing is the art of taking short, slow, walks to mindfully tune our senses and our being into the forest habitat and atmosphere. It invites us to leave behind the discursive mind and enter an embodied presence from where to sense and appreciate the beauty, the wonder and the insight that nature provides.
When embraced consistently, there are numerous evidence-based therapeutic benefits to this practice. To mention a few here, it helps to reduce cortisol level (the stress hormone) in a short time, to release fatigue, to alleviate anxiety and depression while helping to improve mood and level of happiness.
For people whom identify themselves as sensitive, it offers an optimal soothing and grounding form of self-care.
Moreover, it has been shown that sensitive people, because of the way their brain processes information, find it considerably easy and restorative to connect with nature and appreciate its patterns, cycles and rhythms.
My own interest in working and supporting Sensitive People's well-being, through Nature and Forest Bathing, is due to the fact that I am also a sensitive person. Since being a child, growing up in Italy, I have often taken refuge in woodlands and other natural habitats, to sooth my delicate nervous system. I have, over the years, learned to deeply appreciate the sanctuary, the wonder and creativity that the natural habitat offers to people like us.
Recently, in partnership with 'Nature & Therapy UK', and 'Woodland Presence', I carried out short-term research, locally, on Forest Bathing and Sensitivity, with a group of 6 people who viewed themselves as sensitives. I guided the group through 4 weekly walks, and offered them a variety of invitations to mindfully tune their senses in the woodland. Before and after each walk, I asked them to fill an anonymous questionnaire, created to highlight possible changes in sensitivity following the walks. At present, I am still studying the data from the research, which I will soon report on this webpage. But, adjacent is some of the feedback people in the group gave after the four walks: