The many benefits of forest bathing

I love forests. I don’t know how anyone could not love forests, they must be beyond salvation. Forests are the soul of our planet, they are what connects us to the larger web of life hosted on Earth. Every time I visit a forest I feel energized, I feel like I’m at the right place, at the right moment. I feel ‘rooted’.

This week I decided to go “forest bathing” before going to work. Forest bathing is a Japanese expression (Shinrin-yoku or 森林浴) and consists of a short, leisurely trip to a forest. Enjoying a walk in the forest has many health benefits, both physical and mental, largely demonstrated through research in both Europe and Asia (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989; Li et al., 2007). But traditional cultures didn’t wait for these studies to know the importance of forests in human well-being.

I woke up early one morning, welcomed by an amazing sunrise from my bedroom window, and after my morning chores I went to the nearby Woluwe Park in Brussels and soaked in the wonderful autumn hues and scents.

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What I didn’t expect was all the birds. And the morning mist! I really felt wonderful after these 10-minutes in the park, walking among the giant trees and contemplating the multi-coloured carpets of leaves.

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I said goodbye to the sun and moon and stepped into the tram taking my into town, knowing that there would be many more of these forest bathing mornings in the future…

What is your little feel-good morning routine? 

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