Forest Bathing – the Zen Approach to Stress

forest, managing stress

Managing Stress

As part of #mentalhealthawarenessweek the Mental Health Foundation issued a report on the prevalence of stress in the UK and its implications. It also focuses on what we can do to manage and reduce stress and contains recommendations for the government in creating a stress-free UK.  You can download it here : https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/stress-are-we-coping

A key part of the report is an Action List to help individuals manage stress as best they can.

Eating Well

One of the recommendations is to eat well; a gut healthy diet incorporating lots of probiotic foods (kefir, kimchi, live yoghurt etc) along with prebiotic fibre (vegetables, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds – and Troo of course!) would be perfect.

Exercise & Time Out

Two other recommendations are to do exercise and take time out.  Both of these are aimed at physically removing yourself from the cause of stress. However, where you go can also make a difference.

Forest Bathing

Forests in particular can be a particularly suitable location to destress.  In Japan they have a well-being practise called shinrin-yoku, which translates to ‘forest bathing’.  A few years ago, a team of Japanese researchers travelled to an island, Yakushima, renowned for its biodiversity to study shinrin-yoku.  Their objective was to better understand how and why some natural environments make us feel happier and healthier.

The studies were fascinating.  Results suggested that when we breathe in forest air we inhale beneficial bacteria; plant-derived essential oils and negatively-charged ions.

The interaction of the beneficial bacteria with our own bacteria in our gut results in a surging feeling of health and happiness.  The plant-derived essential oils called phytoncides (literal meaning: plant-derived exterminators) can fight off harmful microorganisms whilst the negatively-charged ions cause biochemical reactions that help increase levels of serotonin in our bodies; which in turn can relieve stress and alleviate depression.

Although more research is needed, the recent World Health Organization report, ‘Connecting Global Priorities – Biodiversity and Human Health,’ concluded: “The relationships our individual bodies have with our microbiomes are a microcosm for the vital relationships our species shares with countless other organisms with which we share the planet”.

Forest Walks in the UK

So next time you need to take some time out consider a forest walk.  The Forestry Commission can help you locate your closest wood for a wellbeing stroll.

Forest Holidays – a special offer for you!

You could also consider a holiday in the Forest.  Forest Holidays offer magical breaks in stunning Forestry Commission land.  You can escape to one of ten idyllic locations and choose to stay in luxurious cabins set deep in woodlands or on the edge of mighty lochs, or even in bright forest meadows.  Selected Forest Holidays locations even offer Forest Bathing by specially trained Forest Therapy Guides.

We’re delighted that readers of our blog can enjoy a 5% discount off your next Forest Holidays break at 10 stunning locations, using code TROO18 at the Forest Holidays site or call 03330 110495 and quote this code when you book by 30 June 2018 and holiday by 30 June 2019.

This discount applies to the cabin price only and not any extras. May not be used in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be applied retrospectively. Forest Holidays reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.