The magic of sitting outside for 15 minutes – Shinrin-yoku

Distracts are all around us.  And many people around the world come home from a long day of work and feel a need to disconnect from the world.  That can be by watching TV, having a drink, or playing with their smartphone for an hour or more.  Do you know someone who uses this as their escape?

Worried black businesswoman at deskWe live in a culture that’s puts great focus on removing any unpleasant physical or mental experiences from life, including the symptoms of daily stress.  Many people glaze over, or ignore the signs to stress that are signals and signs of greater issues of imbalance in our lives.  We are not comfortable with facing our stress, and deconstructing it to find a way to break the pattern in our lives.

Using mindfulness can help us to pay attention to particular situations, actions, emotions, events, and in general life, in the present moment without judgment.  With the clear mind you can create a non judgmental way of looking at yourself and others. You can connect with what matters to you in life and choose actions that reflect what you care about.

Is there a fast, easy way to use mindfulness to feel less stress?

YES, its truly as simple as stopping, looking, listening…. outside in nature for 15 minutes!

The best way to find the path to a mindful life can honestly be as easy as spending some time outside with the abundance of Mother Nature.  It has been scientifically proven that she has the power to soothe our temperaments and relax us in ways that we may not be fully aware of.

Shinrin-yoku is a mindful tool that is growing in awareness for its use with connecting to Mother Nature.  In its simplest form, it simply involves spending time among the spender of Mother Nature, and being focused on being in the present moment.

The term Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982. In Japan, “Shinrin-yoku”, which can be defined as “taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing” is currently receiving increasing attention for its capacity to provide relaxation and reduce stress. Humans empirically recognize that getting in touch with nature provides a feeling of comfort.

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By combining mindfulness and spending time in nature—two activities that have restorative properties on their own—shinrin-yoku can yield significant health advantages: A study conducted across 24 forests in Japan found that when people strolled in a wooded area, their levels of the stress hormone cortisol plummeted almost 16 percent more than when they walked in an urban environment.

images.jpegAnd the effects were quickly apparent: Subjects’ blood pressure showed improvement after about 15 minutes of the practice. But one of the biggest benefits may come from breathing in chemicals called phytoncides, emitted by trees and plants. Women who logged two to four hours in a forest on two consecutive days saw a nearly 40 percent surge in the activity of cancer-fighting white blood cells, according to one study. “Phytoncide exposure reduces stress hormones, indirectly increasing the immune system’s ability to kill tumor cells,” says Tokyo-based researcher Qing Li, MD, PhD, who has studied shinrin-yoku. Even if you don’t live near a forest, studies suggest that just looking at green space—say, the trees outside your office window—helps reduce muscle tension and blood pressure.

So the next time you need to destress from your day, try taking a drink outside and put your feel in the grass.  If its too cold, bring a jacket, a blanket, a hot cup of tea and just sit to listen to the birds, wind, feel the sun on your skin, and let Mother Nature take care of you.    And yes if you take your shoes off you get a mega dose of positive energy, tomorrows post will go into greater detail on how and why this is true.img_1478_custom-f9224bc424b8608d4b059c07ce35a1951efe4f0e-s1000-c85.jpg

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