Recently, I saw a Facebook event posted for forest bathing in my area. I figured, I love nature, so why not!

What was surprising to me was when one of our guides shared that even businesses were turning to this 30-year-old wellness technique from Japan, also known as Shinrin-yoku.

The power of forest bathing

So what is forest bathing?

Shinrin-yoku literally translates to “taking in the forest atmosphere.” Forest bathing is really the act of being mindful along a leisurely walk in nature. Our tour explored the Seneca Point Gully in Canandaigua, NY, which had sweet waterfalls at the end.

We were given “invitations” along the way to get into the moment and slow our minds down. An invitation example was to observe water; its motion, qualities, feel, etc. Each offering was around 15 – 20 minutes long, ample time to really experience our surroundings and how we interacted with them.

The exercises can even be tailored to your group, depending on your objectives. For example, if you wanted to take your work team on one of these excursions, there is a selection of invitations that can enhance creativity and cognition. Interesting!

Shinrin-yoku and Stress

We all know the effect that stress can have on our health, as well as our business performance. From heart attacks to strokes, to ulcers, stress can wreak havoc in our lives, cause us to miss work, and obviously under perform when we are not at our peak.

Doctors are even prescribing forest bathing to their patients as a method to reduce stress and improve their overall health. Our guide shared that 2-3 hours of this “green immersion” has been scientifically shown to improve mood, ease depression, and lower blood pressure for up to 7 days.

Philip Barr, a physician who specializes in integrative medicine at Duke University says, “I’m very impressed with the primary research done in Japan,” and thinks that many patients could benefit from forest bathing, especially those who are under stress. He continues to say, “Forest bathing could be considered a form of medicine and the benefits of nature can be accessed so simply.”

You will find something more in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
 – Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

 3 ways that forest bathing can enhance your business

Basically, as solopreneurs, we are our business. Our success is intertwined with our health and mental well-being. When we are relaxed, spacious, and filled with gratitude there are endless possibilities for expansion and growth. This could show up as new product development, creative marketing, or a desire to extend your company give-back.

When we take time to immerse ourselves in nature (with or without a guide), we have the possibility to:

  1. Elevate Mood and Energy
  2. Sharpen our Attention
  3. Reduce Stress

I feel there are endless ways that nature can support our health. Current studies and ones that have yet to be conducted will continue to “prove” the power of plants.

If you are interested in experiencing the benefits for yourself, check out Finger Lakes Forest Therapy.

Other cool articles on the subject can be found here:

Harvard Design Magazine

Boston Globe

The Washington Post

Already given it a try? I’d love to hear about your experience.

For me, after 4 hours of my forest bathing journey, I felt more alive, grateful, connected, and inspired. Not bad for an afternoon excursion! 🙂

Until next time…breathe joy,
Integrative Business Advisor