Forest Bathing

Inspiring anxiety health awareness and whole child wellness. Today we’ll explore Physio-Logics’ RESTORE pillar and Share our Forest Bathing Anchor! -restoring balance through our senses. Use as an energy restoration strategy or throughout the day for mini mindful breaks.

RESTORE

Empowering a child’s spirit restores creativity, compassion and joy. Restoring our spirit, or healthy sense of self, evolves from self-confidence, acknowledgement of self-worth and self-love.   

Challenging our bodies and our minds cultivates courage and resilience to discover what we are capable of. Helping children learn to connect to their breath, body and spirit builds physical and mental strength and restores an inner connection to self.

Forest Bathing

Spending time in nature is both comforting and restorative! In Japan, the practice of shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing” encourages people to take in nature through their senses to promote healing, relaxation, and restoration. The practice of shinrin-yoku is not focused on physical exercise, but rather sensory engagement. It is mindfulness, done outdoors.

Many individuals and families are enjoying walks, runs, bike rides, and hikes in order to get a change of air and scenery. In fact, Google is tracking phone data to plot a Community Mobility Report, viewable by county and the data in Monroe county shows that visits to parks are currently up 115%!

We know from earlier posts that mindfulness is the practice of neutrally observing the present moment through our senses. Notice. Now. Neutrally.

Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.

John Kabat-Zinn

When we gently shift our focus to the now, we are better able to feel empowered to notice and then adapt our responses to stress and anxiety. Engaging in the act of noticing the now can be more relaxing outdoors, particularly if we move beyond our own yards, because we are not looking at our surroundings as a project or a task to complete (“I have to mow the lawn/pick up the fallen twigs/rake the garden beds.”) We can truly just be.

Through gentle and intentional focus of your sensory experience in nature, you can bring your attention into the present moment via your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands and feet.

We can see the colors of spring emerge from the winter landscape as we look for buds and blooms, or the ways in which shadows fall based on the angle of the sun.

Hear the sounds of birdsong, wind, moving water or rustling of leaves under our feet.

We might pick up the scent of flowers, of the damp forest floor, of freshly-cut grass.

Taking breath in through our mouth, we can taste the air as we inhale and exhale.

Perhaps most importantly during this time of chaos and unpredictability, we can feel the earth beneath our feet, whether we are walking barefoot or in shoes, noticing the solidity of the pavement or the softness of fallen pine needles cushioning our footfall, an experience that is literally grounding. Engaging with the way in which we feel connected to the earth allows us to find our root, or anchor, in all that is swirling around us.

Being in nature can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us.

Dr. Qing Li is the author of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness.

Take-Away

We invite you to take a “forest bath” in nature, whether near home or on a trail in the forest. If you are alone with your thoughts, take time to note your sensory intake. If you are with your children, you can help yourself and them bring attention to sensory experience by discussing aloud the things you are each noticing across your five senses. Such a relaxing, restoring way to spend time with yourself, with your loved ones, and with the planet!

Resources

Check out this

  • link for hiking ideas from Day Trips Around Rochester
  • link for information on the practice of shinrin-yoku
  • link for additional Forest Bathing information from Mindful.org

Thank You

Thank you to our wellness educator, Tracy Nemecek, for helping write today’s post and thank YOU for reading today! We will continue to share resources to inspire anxiety health awareness and youth wellness throughout the week. Sending well wishes to you all!

We can’t wait to see you when we are able to re-open the Physio-Logics studio for anxiety wellness education! In the meantime, if you or your child are interested in counseling to address COVID-related anxiety, adjustment challenges related to physical distancing, or other mental health concerns, our wellness educators are also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in private practice.  They are conducting telehealth sessions at this time.  Please feel free to contact us at info@physiologicswellness.com for more information.


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