rosie peacock self love and success coach

Rosie Peacock

Positive Psychologist, Mindset Coach & Wellbeing Specialist. Founder & CEO of the Institute of Positive Wellbeing.
"Flourishing people change the world"

Putting the stress-busting Japanese practice of 'forest-bathing' to the test

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Last night I went out to Fritton Lake and went for a walk in the woods for a couple of hours. Yes, I know, I am such a wild card, I really know how to live to the fullest on a Friday night. But after spending this week in a mad rush of marking, launching a blog, writing reports, finishing up moving house and trying to prepare for 6 weeks in India I craved a total relaxation. Something to restore me.

I wanted to try forest-bathing, a positive psychology import from Japan that I read about in this Psychology Today article.  It is a practice is professed to lower cortisol (the stress hormone), increase health and longevity and increase feelings of gratitude.

A belief that nature is good for you may sound like common sense, but in Japan researchers have taken the idea to the laboratory and produced evidence that a walk in the woods can help prevent cancer, fight obesity and reduce stress and depression.

So I left the city life for the evening in pursuit of some soothing solace in nature.

It was nearing sunset by the time I arrived, and my goodness it was beautiful. The golden glow of the low sun dappled through the trees in a way that made me feel privileged to be there to witness it. 

I felt so deeply connected with the world around me, the air felt purer and the woody aromas of the of the forest and squidgy crunch of untouched, fallen leaves beneath each footprint. 

I began to notice the small things around me that were incredibly beautiful. A perfectly woven spider's palace was completely woven into the grass on the forest floor, spun so intricately that it must have taken days and says of work to construct. 

It was magical. And had I been in the city, I am sure that the sight of a cobweb would have induced a very different response, more close to revulsion than the awe and appriciation that I gave it out in the forest.  Perhaps it was the forest, and the atmosphere, or maybe it was simply that I went somewhere with the intention of relaxing. Maybe it was exploring somewhere I haven't walked before so I payed more attention. Regardless of the reason behind it, I can safely say that 'forest-bathing' was a total success.  After just 2 hours wandering in the woods, I felt rejuvenated, de-stressed, happier and grateful to be alive in a world fulled with so much wonder. I will certainly add it to my repertoire of applied positive psychology interventions to help in times of stress.  I'd love to know if you have ever tried it yourself, or do any other form of 'nature-therapy' to make you feel happy. Please tell me in a comment your favourite ways to reduce stress below! :)

It was magical. And had I been in the city, I am sure that the sight of a cobweb would have induced a very different response, more close to revulsion than the awe and appriciation that I gave it out in the forest.

Perhaps it was the forest, and the atmosphere, or maybe it was simply that I went somewhere with the intention of relaxing. Maybe it was exploring somewhere I haven't walked before so I payed more attention. Regardless of the reason behind it, I can safely say that 'forest-bathing' was a total success.

After just 2 hours wandering in the woods, I felt rejuvenated, de-stressed, happier and grateful to be alive in a world fulled with so much wonder. I will certainly add it to my repertoire of applied positive psychology interventions to help in times of stress.

I'd love to know if you have ever tried it yourself, or do any other form of 'nature-therapy' to make you feel happy. Please tell me in a comment your favourite ways to reduce stress below! :)

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