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Learning to reconnect with nature.
Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese word for “forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere.”
It encapsulates something we know innately: time spent immersed in nature is good for us.
You don’t have to charter an Alaskan bush plane to arrive in nature. Just step outside your front door and go to the nearest park or natural space – leave your phone at home.
Once you arrive, do what calls you.
Walk, sit, close your eyes, focus on your breath, listen to the sounds of nature, and otherwise pay attention to how your five senses are interacting with the space around you.
Evolutionarily, we have never been so far from the natural world.
Spend some time this week in nature, reconnecting with your wild self.
The Biophilia Hypothesis
The biophilia hypothesis states that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
Biophilia: The passionate love of life and of all that is alive.
Studies show that spending at least two hours per week in nature, at once or spread across multiple visits, is required to significantly improve physical health and mental well-being.
If the two-hour threshold isn’t feasible for you, just do what you can manage.
You may not have time to just sit and embrace your surroundings, but you can integrate nature with the things you would do anyway. Take your daily walk, meditate, read a book, or work and exercise outdoors.
Benefits of spending time in nature
Increased feelings of calmness
Improved happiness (elevated endorphin levels and dopamine production)
Restored capacity for attention and concentration
Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression
Reduced feelings of isolation
Lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol (stress hormone)
Living a healthy life extends beyond the addition of a new exercise routine or way of eating. We must also remove that which is non-essential and spend time reconnecting with our surroundings and ourselves.
Quote to Ponder
What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily?
For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed.
Whatever years be behind us are in death’s hands.
— Seneca, Tao of Seneca: Volume 1
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