Do you already have a forest bathing practice? Have you gone on a guided forest therapy walk but are unsure of how to make forest bathing part of your lifestyle? Are you curious about how to make your forest bathing count?
Here’s my quick guide to make nature exposure part of your daily life and optimize your forest bathing sessions.
1. Walk everywhere.
Walk through green space on your way to work. Get off public transit one or more stops early to walk through a park. Eat your lunch outside or go for a walk on a break. Have a walking meeting with work colleagues instead of sitting in a stuffy boardroom. Just keep moving.
2. Work out outside.
Get off the treadmill and go trail running. Sign up for a boot camp that works out in the park. Roll out your yoga mat outside. Being outside is good for your health, even without the benefit of exercise. If you do choose to exercise in nature, studies show that you’ll feel a greater sense of revitalization, energy, enjoyment, and satisfaction.
3. Get off the beaten path.
Forest bathing can happen in unexpected places and ways. Sometimes you have to look around a corner to find something magical. Some of the best forest bathing sessions happen when you follow your heart, or the sounds of a chirping bird, to a place you’ve never been before. Walk in the spaces between the trees or walk on a fallen log. Cross a stream on a pathway of river rocks. When you play in nature, or follow the lead of your children, you just might get a little more cognitive boost out of your walk in the woods or see something unexpected. Engage your curiosity and take the trail less trodden.
4. Make it social.
Invite a friend or your entire extended family. Go for a picnic. Plan a meetup in a park. Organize a community forest bathing session. Share the love of nature.
5. Tap into tree medicine.
Trees are wise. There is so much you can learn from trees. Many trees are like your grandma, but even older and with more life experience. Watch the trees and you can learn their secrets to longevity, cooperation, and resilience. There is also potent medicine hidden deep within the trees, but also everywhere around them. It floats in the air in the form of volatile oils. Breathe in the trees’ medicine and get schooled by them through your observations of how they stand tall in the face of adversity.
6. Practice mindfulness outdoors.
Forest bathing is already a form of mindfulness as your mind is engaged with appreciating the beauty of nature or the step you take as you walk down a path. It’s even better if you move your meditation practice outdoors to a sit spot or practice a simple 5 senses forest bathing exercise. Read more about mindfulness exercises specifically geared to make your forest bathing count.