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Mindful : October 2019
Adapted with permission from The Green Cure: How shinrin-yoku, earthing, going outside, or simply opening a window can heal us, by Alice Peck, CICO Books, 2019. You need only the most basic equipment: walking shoes and natural insect repel- lent. Leave your camera, your journal, and your guidebooks behind, and turn off your mobile devices. Forest bathing is about being, not analyzing. 1 Find some trees. This can be a forest of ancient pine or a copse of paper birch, or a single maple in your backyard. Of course, spending more time with more trees is better, because the effect is multiplied. Studies have shown that spending three days and two nights in a thickly wooded area will improve the function of the immune system for up to seven days—but do the best you can. A little forest bathing is better than none. 2 Find somewhere to sit or lean, where you can be still for 10-20 minutes or more without being in the way of bicycle traffic, ants, or poison ivy. 3 Now do just that—be still. Be aware of your breath, but don’t force it. Let the experience come to you, don’t analyze. See what you see, hear what you hear, smell what you smell, feel what you feel. Light through the leaves...skittering or birdsong...blossom or decay...calm or grounded... 4 As you walk home, check in with your- self. Do you notice any changes in your body? How about your state of mind? What can you take from your forest bath- ing experience back to your daily life? Do you feel more optimistic? More serene? How is that headache? 5 Repeat as often as possible. ● ABOUT THE AUTHOR Alice Peck is drawn to finding the sacred and science in nature, healing, and everyday things. She is also author of Be More Tree, Mindful Beads, and The Secret Language of Herbs. October 2019 mindful 29 PHOTOGRAPHBYSEBASTIANUNRAU/UNSPLASH