Delorie, Oliver Luke: Shinrin-yoku
Discover a slow, mindful way of walking that heals the soul and mends the heart. Let all your senses bathe in the sensory pleasures that woodland has to offer. Forest as therapist: find practical ways to connect deeply with nature. Leave the hustle and bustle behind for a while and fill your lungs with some fresh forest air. Soak up the sights, sounds (or silence) with all of your senses and indulge in some shinrin yoku; the health benefits are extraordinary. Turn off the phone, turn off the TV, close the laptop, lace up your hiking boots, and go outside for what the Japanese call “the medicine of being in the forest”, otherwise known as forest therapy. Fresh forest air is filled with cancer-fighting chemicals called phytoncides, which have been found to lower blood pressure and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol (if you happen to be crammed in the center of the city, know that a view of a park or other green space can also lower your blood pressure and reduce any muscle tension). When you do get outside, let your senses guide you. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? Let your awareness of your environment recalibrate you. Let your surroundings speak to you. Focusing your awareness on the present moment (while acknowledging and accepting every thought and feeling) is one way to mindfully maximize the moments you spend luxuriating out-of-doors.