Boosting Wellbeing with Immersive Nature Experiences
This past weekend I enjoyed a local wellbeing event facilitated by one of our Positivity Playground members at American School of The Hague. The outing prompted me to share a bit about what we experienced and how it connects with the science of wellbeing.
🌳🤗🌲 What is "Forest Bathing?"
Our host taught us how to practice Shinrin-yoku, or Forest Bathing - a tradition from Japan which translates as "taking in the forest atmosphere."
Forest Bathing is a simple, immersive experience of silently walking in a wooded environment and consciously connecting with what's around you. A form of nature therapy or eco-therapy, Shinrin-yoku is a great way to switch off from work and technology, and experience the wellbeing benefits of being in nature.
I normally walk outdoors for exercise and/or conversation, so this was a very new way for me to experience a tiny section of a local park. I was stunned and delighted by how much more detail I was seeing than usual. The noise of cars, airplanes, and an adjacent campground all faded away as I focused on the natural environment around me.
My stillness and extended observation were rewarded with glimpses of grazing cows and playful rabbits in the fields, groups of ducks resting on fallen logs, an elegant stork flying across a wooded canal, leafy light-shows as the wind moved the trees, and a bounty of raspberries, sunflowers, and hydrangeas in the cottage gardens bordering the park. All of these magical moments created a deeply restorative experience of awe, savoring, and gratitude.
Many studies have established that the wellbeing benefits of spending time in "green and blue spaces" are significant and can be practiced regardless of where we live and work.
🌄🌅 How to Create Immersive Nature Experiences Anytime/Anywhere
"Forest Bathing" is Great for Your Health. Here's How to Do It The history and science behind Shinrin-yoku, and tips for getting started
Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health Research findings summarized by the Yale School of the Environment
Thriving with Nature (Downloadable Guide) From the UK WWF and Mental Health Foundation - tips for enjoying nature through COVID, for city-dwellers, and in all seasons
How to Train Your Senses Techniques for making the most of using and improving our senses to enhance our wellbeing
Nurtured by Nature Explains the cognitive and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature - from the American Psychological Association
👉 How About You?
When is the last time you had a mindful, immersive experience in nature - and what was the impact on your positivity and wellbeing?
Feel free to send me a chat message anytime (at the bottom of the screen) - or connect with me on LinkedIn where I share research-based positivity and wellbeing micro-coaching questions each week.
About the Author
Kristin Lowe is a former international school teacher who now works as an organizational psychologist and positive psychology coach.
Kristin’s work centers around helping international school communities cultivate what is best within themselves and leverage these strengths to support our next generation of changemakers.
You can read more about Kristin’s background and qualifications here.