Stress is one of the leading causes of declined well-being, disease, and death in the modern world.
Almost everyone has too much of it, and is desperately looking for ways to get rid of it.
As it turns out, though, one of the best ways to relieve stress might be found right outside your home.
In 1982 Japan’s Forest Agency began promoting time spent in nature as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The term “Shinrin Yoku,” which literally means “forest bathing” in Japanese, was coined to describe the practice of using exposure to natural environments for healing.
Since then lots of researchers have investigated whether spending time in nature really does have health benefits.
The conclusion is a loud, indisputable “YES!”
In 2007, one study showed that participants who spent time in a forest had significantly lower levels of cerebral activity in the prefrontal cortex than when they spent time in a city. The concentration of salivary cortisol in the forest group was also significantly lower than that of the group in the city area.
Other studies have also shown that spending time in forests lowers blood pressure and heart rate, decreases levels of the stress-hormone cortisol, increases parasympathetic nerve activity, and decreases sympathetic nerve activity.
Exposure to nature has also been shown to boost the immune system and speed up the healing process.
Moreover, Shinrin Yoku has been shown to reduce anger, tension, and depression, improve fatigue, and have an overall relaxing effect on the human body.
In other words, spending time in nature has proven benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.
So next time you’re feeling stressed out, frustrated, exhausted, depressed, or anxious, go spend some time with trees. Get into a forest if you can, but if you live in the middle of a city a beautiful park should do the trick. You’re sure to feel better after you do.