Do you love to spend time on long hikes in the forest, sitting by a gentle stream among trees, or having picnics in beautiful meadows? Like me, you may enjoy the sounds of nature, the company of the fauna, and the clean air that you exchange with the flora. There is a huge positive impact on our physical, mental, and emotional health when we spend time in nature. This is true, especially with forest bathing. However, it’s not always possible to retreat to nature when we need it in our everyday stress-filled lives. There are many things you can do to bring forest bathing indoors, to replicate it at home.
Forest Bathing Benefits
Forest Bathing, or Shinrin Yoko as it’s called in Japan, is a very popular lifestyle practice in Asia and Europe. Many peer reviewed studies show the benefits of forest bathing. The results are so positive, that it’s actually prescribed to people who are overworked and dealing with stress and anxiety.
Regular forest bathing results in:
- reduced blood pressure
- elevated mood
- reduced stress hormones
- increased focus and concentration
- increased natural killer cells which boost immune health
- and much more…
As I’ve mentioned before, spending time in nature can deepen your spiritual connection and is even more potent in ancient forests!
Unfortunately, many of us are not able to go walk in a forest at the end of each workday. And for some, it’s hard to go at all because they don’t have access; are sick, disabled, or injured; or are afraid (seriously, this is the case with some people, and that’s okay). And for this reason, it’s a good idea to try to reproduce forest bathing at home, bringing nature indoors to promote holistic health.
How To Forest Bathe At Home
There are many aspects of forest bathing that you can do at home if you’re not able to engage in the real thing.
Whenever you’re feeling stressed out, or as often as you like to prevent anxious feelings, try one or more of the following:
Diffuse Essential Oils
The visual beauty of a forest is a major reason why so many people experience a greater relaxed state. However the aroma of the forest may be even more powerful in affecting one’s mood. That’s because when we smell, we’re stimulating the limbic area of the brain which processes emotions and holds memories. Inhaling the natural essential oils in the woods or the essential oils extracted from plant parts, are equally effective in enhancing your mood!
To experience the benefits of forest bathing, simply diffuse the essential oils of trees that are present there. Try using:
- Fir trees (Siberian, White, Douglas, Balsam)
- Juniper Berry
- Tea Tree
DoTERRA is my favorite brand of essential oils because of their commitment to quality and purity, their sustainability efforts, and their close relationship with indigenous farmers around the world. Learn more here.
Listen to Forest Sounds
Close your eyes and imagine you’re in the forest as you listen to tracks of birds, wind through trees, a bubbling stream, and other woodland sounds.
Watch Calming Nature Videos
Viewing scenes of nature is better than nothing! Soothing scenes can definitely relax you. Research shows however, that these effects are more temporary than real-life experiences. You’re also dealing with the effects of an electronic device, so I recommend this option the least.
Do Guided Meditations Set In A Forest
The mind is a powerful force! You can use guided meditations set in the forest to create a space for very deep healing. This is whatI often do with coaching clients to support their mental, emotional, and spiritual health. If you do an online search, you’re sure to find a few helpful audio or video tracks. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like my personal help.
Communicate With Trees Near Your Home
You don’t need to explore a whole forest just to experience the benefits of this nature therapy. Opening up your senses and connecting to the trees around your home may be more convenient as is still very effective. I like to combine grounding with a meditation:
- Find a comfortable space outside near a tree.
- Take off your shoes & socks and allow your feet to sink into the earth.
- Consciously relax your body, letting it sink further with gravity.
- Imagine that you’re sending roots down through the center of each foot.
- See these roots connecting with the tree(s) around you, like you’re holding hands/roots with them.
- As you breathe fully & deeply recognize how you’re exchanging life energy with the tree and how you have a symbiotic relationship with it.
Bring More Plants Into Your Home
Adding lovely ferns, orchids, and other forest plants to your home can create the visual appeal of time in the woods. If you’re serious about stress management, it’s a good idea to surround yourself with plants, especially if you work from home.
Of course it’s best to experience the forest in real life! I’ve had so many amazing downloads, breakthrough, and moments of deep peace among the trees. But the home lifestyle practices I mention here can still be transformational if you don’t have access to nature on a regular basis.
I’m curious, do you forest bathe? What do you think of these at-home substitutes? Let us know in the comments how these nature therapies support your holistic health!