A blog I wrote in 2016 titled ‘The Joy of Forest Bathing’ described bush walking as a way of de-stressing. Many people feel an intrinsic call to spend time in nature, and this makes good sense. Our brain and body are in the main hard-wired to connect with the laws of nature. The changing of the seasons, the rise and setting of the sun are natural processes that our DNA is programmed to respond to, not with the 24/7 hectic work schedules many people in today’s world live by.

A walk in the forest or bush the Japanese call “Shinrin-yoku”, which is their term for “forest bathing”. It is known to benefit our physical and mental health because we inhale beneficial bacteria, plant-derived essential oils and negatively charged ions via the forest air.

Our emotional state is enhanced also, and research has shown that physical activity, especially in forest areas, by the sea and other nature environments is an excellent way to de-stress and bring some balance back into our daily lives. The activity also creates a state of Eustress (good stress) where the ‘happy hormones’ such as endorphins are released into our system and we become proactive in creating a state of wellbeing by natural means.

I ran in the bush daily for many years and now I walk. This morning my bush walk was a calming experience with the birds chirping, the early season wattle flowering and the joy of communing with nature with its wonderful smells and sense of peace.

Gardening has also been a joy for me. As far back as a young boy I loved to join my father in his vegetable and flower gardens on our double block in residential Sydney. My father was the Sporting Editor of the Sydney Daily Mirror, one of the largest evening newspapers in Australia. His work environment was always super high stress and he loved to escape into his garden for peace and quiet to destress and commune with nature. I now understand why he loved this environment so much.

Scientists have concluded gardening provides a number of valuable health benefits, from stress relief to better nutrition and exercise.

In summary…

  • Research shows gardening can help brain function by increasing brain nerve growth and enhanced pathways
  • Gardening, especially digging, is classed as moderate to high intensity exercise
  • Decrease in depression severity has been seen in many individuals who turn to gardening as a form of a natural health remedy. Research has shown that digging in soil may affect a person’s mental health by exposing them to beneficial micro-organisms
  • Research shows gardening provides a number of valuable health benefits… stress relief, improved brain health, better nutrition and exercise

 

This Weeks Video…

Meditation for Anxiety and Depression – The Through Space tool – Dr Judy Hinwood


 

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