Forest bathing: This is how you start the mindfulness trend from TikTok

Try it (Picture: Getty)

Forest bathing is growing rapidly on TikTok, with millions of videos of avid forest bathers circulating on the app.

And it seems like it has the real power to take the pressure off of the world, giving you time to de-stress, center yourself, and get away from the noise for a while. Sign up with us.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, forest bathing is a type of mindfulness and meditation that can help people relieve stress by harnessing the nature around them. It dates back to Japan in the 1980s.

The Japanese practice is a tree relaxation process originally known as “shinrin yoku” – which directly translates to “forest bathing.”

Forest bathing does not necessarily have to take place in the forest.

Put simply, forest bathing is a simple way to be calm and still among the trees, gain mindfulness by observing nature around you, and focus on deep breathing.

Most people who use mindfulness to manage stress and anxiety are familiar with using breathing exercises to center themselves. Well, forest bathing is exactly that, but under the trees for added health benefits.

Ellie, a 25-year-old writer, tried forest bathing after watching a program on Countryfile about it.

She tells “At first I felt a bit silly – but then there was something deeply liberating about the absurdity. And then I felt this sense of completeness. I felt held by everything around me – the sunlight, the trees with their crown shingles, the rustling of the ferns that could be a deer or a magpie or a grass snake.

“Looking up was the best part, not at the leaves but at the spaces between them, at the green and gold stars of light and breathing, really breathing in. It felt like a factory reset. And then I moved on and felt a little better — like I’d put on a more comfortable pair of shoes or shed an extra layer on a hot day,” she adds.

Florence, a 32-year-old IT specialist, has also taken to forest bathing to manage her stress at work.

She says: “I have a really busy job and sometimes it overwhelms me. But I saw forest bathing tutorials on TikTok and thought I’d give it a try.”

Now Florence tries to bathe in the forest at least once a week.

She adds: “It brings me back to myself. Not working me, though me. There’s something so liberating about forest bathing that it’s hard to describe. Everyone should try at least once.”

Forest bathing studies conducted in Japan have found that the practice can help people:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • strengthen your immune system
  • improve concentration
  • Increase energy levels

It seems that people can also boost their immune systems through forest bathing because trees produce antimicrobial oils.

Clinical studies have shown that these oils have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties that help us prevent, fight off, and build immunity from disease.

The same study found that regular, leisurely walks in the woods reduced cortisol (which causes stress and anxiety) by 12.4% compared to walking in the city.

Participants in the study also reported improved mood.

In another study, after three days in nature, participants saw a 50% improvement in creative problem solving. And that’s incredibly important, because creativity plays a huge role in our overall mood and mental well-being.

Forest therapy practitioner Delyth Johnson says forest bathing can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression and that this type of support is “much needed”.

“Other benefits include improvements in short-term memory; Restoring mental energy, increasing concentration and sharper thinking,” she adds.

how to start

To start, Delyth suggests sitting under a tree with a timer for 10 minutes.

She says: “All you have to do is see, listen and notice. Close your eyes for 10 minutes and focus on listening, what do you hear?’

Then she suggests trying a mindful walk.

She adds: “Set a timer for 15 minutes and go very slowly. Focus on looking around and looking up, pausing, touching, you can of course try to literally hug trees.’

Forest bathing may feel a little silly at first, so Delyth advises finding a place that feels comfortable to you that you know well.

She continues: “Maybe invite some friends to try it too. Follow what invites you, whether it’s under a tree or on the ground.’

Most people have access to at least a small patch of forest near their home. So if this mindfulness practice has so much to offer, it’s worth checking out.

Who would have thought trees could be so powerful?

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