fbpx
Connect with us

Health

Practicing Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) to Become More Healthy and Productive

Published

on

Practicing Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) to Become More Healthy and Productive

Have you heard of the new lifestyle practice called Shinrin-Yoku? Translated into English as ‘forest bathing’ or ‘forest therapy’, Shinrin-Yoku was invented in Japan in the early 1980s. The practice was proposed by the government as a means to help people relax their minds and improve mental health.  

Though the name includes the term bathing, Shinrin-Yoku mostly involves walking in a forested area. That’s it. There’s no specific intention required for the walk. All you have to do is to keep walking slowly while taking into the senses the environment around you, like the sights, smells and sounds.

Benefits Of Shinrin-Yoku

Forest bathing is said to offer a number of benefits ranging from reduced blood pressure to increased attention span in children with ADHD. Below, we look at five such benefits of Shinrin-Yoku.

Decreased Blood Pressure

If you have issues with varying blood pressure, then a little forest bathing is what you need. It has been discovered that just looking at trees for a few moments has a positive effect on a person’s health, helping them calm down and lower blood pressure. 

In addition, the two stress-related hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol, are observed to reduce from such activities. Frequent trips to forested areas also minimize a person’s state of confusion, depression, and anxiety.

Boost Immune System

As protection from insects, plants emit a chemical called phytoncides, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. In a densely forested region, the environment will be permeated by these. As such, if you pass through such a space or spend a good deal of time there, you will inhale these chemicals. 

As a reaction, the body will start producing a certain kind of white blood cells, called the Natural killer (NK) cells, which has the ability to kill viruses and cancer infected cells in your body. It is estimated that just 2 nights of Shinrin-Yoku is sufficient for about 30 days of increased NK activity in the body.

Patient Recovery

If you are recovering from an illness, then a short walk in a forested region can definitely do some good. People in a hospital usually suffer from multiple emotional issues including fear, stress, anxiety, and so on. 

This can slow down the recovery process. Just having a green view of the outside is sufficient enough to cause fewer postsurgical complications, while lowering the reliance on painkillers. And if you are capable of going out to a nearby park, then all the better.

Children With ADHD

Another group that can significantly benefit from Shinrin-Yoku are children who suffer from issues like ADHD and similar problems. Usually, such children have very low attention spans and are unable to learn anything properly. 

However, spending time amidst natural greenery has been seen to mitigate such issues to a good extent. As such, forest bathing should definitely be on your to-do list if you have a child with ADHD.

Boost Creativity

Have you ever felt stuck in life, unable to ignite creativity? If yes, forest bathing is highly recommended. This activity is said to free up mind, and open it up to newer possibilities. As such, you might suddenly get a spark of inspiration right in the middle of a trail. 

Plus, the reduced stress levels also help in clearing the mind from unwanted thoughts, allowing creative ideas to come forth more easily, as well as negative thoughts to flow out.

The Research

Practicing Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) to Become More Healthy and Productive

Many research reports have come out that validate the benefits offered by Shinrin-Yoku. A 2010 study conducted in the Chiba Prefecture in Japan enlisted a few test subjects, asking them to walk 20 minutes in a forest park. 

The researchers found that the subjects had experienced lower stress levels when they were in the forest. In addition, their hemoglobin count was also lower. The forest mainly consisted of Oak trees.

Another study published in 2011 looked at the effects of forest bathing on the human body. They compared the results of walking in a city and walking in a forest and found that the latter helped reduce blood pressure to a good extent. 

In addition, dopamine levels were also observed to have decreased from forest bathing.

Tips To Keep In Mind When Doing Shinrin-Yoku

There are no strict rules for practicing Shinrin-Yoku. After all, the only thing you have to do is to enter a forest and walk through it. However, if you follow the tips below, then you will definitely have a better experience.

Practicing Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) to Become More Healthy and Productive
  • Remember that this is not a hike. You don’t have to walk fast towards some goal. There is no goal. Just relax and walk anywhere you want. Use all your senses while walking through the forest, whether it is sight, smell, touch, or hearing.  
  • Do not take your smartphone, camera, or any other such devices with you for the walk. Leave all gadgets behind. Since the goal of the walk is to concentrate on yourself and the environment, these devices act as an unnecessary distraction.
  • If you are going in a group, keep conversations to a minimum. Better still, don’t talk at all. At least for the few minutes, you spend for the walk, remain silent and learn to savor the silence. And then after you’re done with the walk, you can consider talking to the other members of the group.
  • If you find a location to sit for a few minutes, then go for it. Close your eyes and meditate with deep breaths. Similarly, if something gets your attention, stop and watch it closely until you are satisfied with it. Remember – there is no hurry.
  • Take your most comfortable shoes for the Shinrin-Yoku. It should not be too light that pebbles and other rocks discomfort your feet. Nor should it have too thick a base that the entire shoe feels heavy.

Final Thoughts

So, if you have been feeling mentally stressed out lately, try to take some time off from work and head over to the nearest forest for a few hours. Walkthrough the trees, absorbing the fresh air, feeling everything around you, and you will definitely feel refreshed and more energetic. 

If you are not sure whether you can do the Shinrin-Yoku properly by yourself, consider getting in contact with a forest bathing guide, and they will definitely help you get the best experience from the walk.

Health

How to Protect Your Mental Health During Covid-19?

Published

on

By

stay healthy

Feelings of anxiety, depression, fear, and concern that many people may have when it comes to coronavirus (COVID-19) are quite restraining. This virus carries with it the possibility of death and that is exactly one of the reasons for our fear. That is why we offer you the following tips to help you deal with it.

Try to Keep Perspective

While it is reasonable for people to be concerned about a pandemic outbreak, try to remember that public health professionals around the world are working hard to fight the virus, treat the infected, and develop a vaccine as quickly as possible.

Find a Healthy Balance in Following Media

Exposure to large amounts of negative information can increase feelings of anxiety. While it is important to be informed, it may be helpful to limit their input if it upsets you or your family and you have trouble calming down and resuming regular activities after watching and hearing such news.

Find Quality Information

Get information from reliable sources but be moderate in that as well. It is recommended to reduce the search for new information to a minimum, so instead of checking and looking for new information often during the day, do it in the morning and, less often, in the evening. In the second case, you may have trouble falling asleep because your brain will be processing what you read instead of ‘letting’ you fall asleep. 

In general, this item, which is related to finding quality information, will essentially help you keep your perspective and be more controlled.

Try to Keep a Calm Approach to Everything

Widespread panic can complicate efforts to effectively manage the pandemic on a personal level. Do your best to stay calm and follow only official advice, especially regarding respecting proper hygiene habits and keeping your distance.

Maintaining Mental Health During Self-Isolation or Quarantine

There are several ways to maintain your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine:

  • Remember that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow down the spread of the virus.
  • Remember that your efforts help others in the community to avoid the coronavirus.
  • Stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues via email, social media, messaging or calling.
  • Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and relax. Moderate betting at bookmakers with the best deposit bonuses gathered on bookmaker-expert.com/bonus/deposit/ is one of the options.
  • Stick to a regular sleep routine and eat healthy foods.
  • Seek help in teas and tinctures.
  • Try to maintain physical activity.
  • Establish routines as best you can and try to look upon that period as a new experience that can benefit your health.
  • For those who work from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by setting certain working hours, regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated workspace.
  • Avoid news and social networks if that bothers you.

Children and Younger People

Families and caregivers of children and young people should talk openly with them about the coronavirus and the pandemic. Try to connect the facts without causing panic in a way that is appropriate for their age and temper. It is important to listen to any questions they have that will let them know that they are safe and that it is normal for them to feel anxious.

If the media or news is too much for them, encourage children to limit their exposure to them.

Health Workers

Healthcare workers may feel additional stress during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a normal reaction of the body in these unseen circumstances. Coronavirus arouses such feelings. They are not a sign of weakness and it is important to acknowledge that. 

There are practical ways to manage mental health during this time, including:

  • Enough rest during working hours and between shifts.
  • Eating healthy food and engaging in physical activity.
  • Keeping in touch with colleagues, family, and friends by phone or apps.
  • Being aware that you can access mental health support at work. If you are a manager, try to create mentally healthy work habits.

It is important that the public recognizes the pressure that health workers are under and takes steps to support them wherever possible. Following government advice in their countries on ways individuals can help slow the spread of the virus will support health workers who save lives and keep people safe.

Seek Support

It is normal to feel scared or stressed while listening about the Covid-19 pandemic. We encourage people who have had mental health problems in the past to:

  • Activate the support network.
  • Acknowledge the feeling of anxiety immediately.
  • Seek professional support if they have difficulty.

Instead of conclusion… Guys, like every pandemic throughout history, this one will pass, too. Stay strong!

Continue Reading

Health

Five Things to Remember for a Healthy 2021

Published

on

By

Using masks? Check. Stocked up on handwash and sanitizer? Ages ago. Practicing social distancing and buying groceries in bulk? Like lives depend on it.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made all of us realize the necessity of prioritizing our well-being, be it mental, physical, or emotional. Navigating the realm of health has become quite the challenge with all sorts of information (and misinformation!) from different sources floating about. Here we have put together a handy list of things that you absolutely cannot overlook when it comes to staying healthy this year, so read on!

Don’t skip meals

The advent of the New Year sees people everywhere making resolutions, the most common of which is related to weight loss. While it’s great if you want to lose weight or meet other fitness goals, it is important to take care of your nutrition as well. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, and drastically cutting calories have a greater negative impact on your health than you might expect. Instead, choose foods that are nutrient-dense and high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Incorporating natural immunity boosting foods and anti-inflammatories like ginger and turmeric are also great options to consider.

Also, Read Benefits of Doing Yoga Regularly

Prioritize Exercise

Don’t just bank upon dieting to meet your health goals and instead also exercise regularly during the week. Switch it up by alternating between light cardio, bodyweight-based strength training, aerobics, pilates, and yoga— all while staying home of course. If you live in a low-risk area, you could even consider early morning brisk walks.

Screen time and sleep

It is very easy to neglect the harmful effects of long exposure to digital screens, which have become an inalienable part of life in lockdown. In addition to causing eye strain and lowing attention span, laptops, smartphones, and TV screens are also known to produce harmful blue light. This has been scientifically proven to accelerate the degeneration of retinal cells which ultimately causes loss of vision, and it has also been linked to irregular sleep cycles. We suggest staying away from screens for at least a full hour before going to bed to ensure sound sleep. That said, it is also crucial that you get a solid 8 hours of sleep at night to keep those grey cells running smoothly.

Mental Health

It goes without saying that this pandemic has been unprecedented in most of our lives. Alienated and isolated from everybody else, the lockdown woes have crept up on all of us at some point, so you must stay vigilant about your mental health. Engage yourself in an interesting hobby, reconnect with family and friends, equip yourself to deal with stress, or practice mindfulness and meditation to keep the blues at bay.  

Emotional well-being

This turbulent time has also left us grappling with a spectrum of emotions from good to bad. With the beginning of a new year and a new time, it is important to process, validate, and talk about all these emotions, maintain a positive outlook and connect to people with enthusiasm and optimism.

Continue Reading

Health

The Good Side of The COVID Crisis

Published

on

By

joy

I know you must be feeling skeptical about this; I mean, what can be good about anything that has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the world to a halt? 

But there are some silver linings and corners of positivity in this whole scenario. Here we will list out all the good things that have happened or are happening right now due to the crisis we are facing!

Nature is Thriving

With less human activity and reduced water traffic, the waters in the canals of Venice are becoming clearer by the day. Fleets of white swan were spotted in the waters, a rare visitor over the last several years. 

In Mumbai’s Marine Drive, schools of dolphins were seen playing around, as the ports were closed, and barely any water traffic and pollution were there to keep them away. Unusual sightings of dolphins have also been reported from the ports of Cagliari, Sardinia. Devoid of ships, as seen on a typical busy day, the marine lives thrive and have relief in the peaceful, calm, human-less waters!

Herds of deer were seen roaming around in Japan’s streets. With no crowds or traffic, the animals were seen having a gala time exploring the usually busy and bustling city streets.

More than 70,000 Olive Ridley sea turtles were seen nesting on an empty beach in Odisha, located along the eastern coast of India. These beaches, usually abuzz with human activity in the tourist seasons, were deserted because of the nation-wide lockdown in place, and thus left at peace for these turtles. While in Brazil, 97 Hawksbill sea turtles, a critically endangered species, hatched on a deserted beach. Moreover, a similar occurrence has been reported in Florida, where a high number of Leatherback turtles have surfaced on the shores. 

In Canada, orcas have been spotted swimming further into regions where they were not seen venturing before. In fact, dolphins, seals, and other marine animals have been spotted in areas where they have not been seen for decades!

In Llandudno, North Wales, usually shy mountain goats came down from the higher altitudes and were seen freely roaming the streets of the town. Meanwhile, wild boars were seen exploring Barcelona’s city streets, an incredible sight in the bustling and one of the busiest parts of Spain. 

In San Francisco, packs of coyotes were sighted roaming on the streets, whereas in Nara Japan, Sika deer were seen exploring empty streets and subway stations. 

In South Africa, wild penguins were spotted roaming the streets, and in Argentina, sea lions were seen chilling out near storefronts!

Cleaner Air

With less number of vehicles, shutting down of factories and industries, the air has become cleaner in unprecedented ways. Recently, residents in Jalandhar, India, were able to see the Himalayas’ Dhauladhar range from their houses due to cleaner air. 

Moreover, Delhi, the country’s capital and one of the most polluted metros on Earth, recorded good air quality index levels for the first time in several years. Other big cities like New York, São Paulo, London, Bogota, and others have also recorded better air quality due to lower pollution levels. 

In Italy, air pollution levels have dropped by 40%, whereas China has also seen a dramatic drop in its pollution levels. According to NASA, the nitrogen dioxide levels in busy cities of China have dropped by 10-30%. The current crisis is also leading to the largest ever decline in annual carbon emission levels. This has led to some reversal of greenhouse effects caused by human activities in recent years. 

Social Bonding

Adults and children are all locked inside homes due to the forceful timeout created by the virus. Although it leads to occasional struggles, overall, it has given people a chance to reconnect better with their families. 

We have been consumed so much by our busy lives and technology craving habits, that our family ties and socialization had taken a back seat over the years. The pandemic has given all of us the time to connect with our friends, families, and dear ones.

From doing household chores to bringing down forgotten board games, families are bonding in all kinds of wonderful ways. 

Community Bonding

For the first time in life, we as a generation are facing a common enemy. Everyone around the globe has never been united like this with such a singular yet massive cause.

The love, support, and prayers for each other across communities have brought a remarkable sense of unity and keeps reminding everyone in the crisis that we are in this together!

Self-Development

Now is the time when you can finally focus on yourself. From learning new skills to completing courses, reading, writing, or simply enjoying me-time, or indulging in your long-forgotten hobbies, the quarantine can be your long path of self-discovery!

Community Heroes

This crisis has brought out some of the best of people into the frontline. From doctors and nurses striving daily, there have been thousands of volunteers worldwide who are helping vulnerable people with food, money, sanitization, and other necessities. 

Many people have come forward to feed and care for strays and animals going without food after being abandoned by their humans or running out of their daily source of meals due to closed shops, fewer people, and empty roads.

Final Words

It is a tough time where everything seems uncertain. But you have to search for positivity and keep your hopes up. Believe that there is a light even in the darkest corners. 

Keep adding more such good things happening around the world, in nature, and amongst people. Look at the silver lining, keep hoping, stay positive, and spread that positivity all around you every day. Finally let me finish off with a wonderful quote that Buddha said, 

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.”

Continue Reading

Popular