In Japan a practice called Shinrin-yoku is common, which seeks to “absorb the forest” through the five senses to take advantage of its positive effects. One of the keys lies in the possibility of “restoring attention” to the levels proposed by natural environments, much less demanding than the constant stimuli of city life
The walks through the forest, the countryside and, in general, natural environments usually generate a feeling of well-being, both physically and mentally. It is something that many people have experienced over the centuries. But in recent years some researchers have proposed to describe in a scientific way the characteristics of that well-being: what does it consist of, what exactly are the benefits of taking walks in nature.
A few years ago, it started a new concept known as “morbid rumination”, that is, the thoughts that come back to the mind again and again, that can Become obsessive and they are often the cause of stress, anxiety, anguish and depression. Various studies have shown that this rumination is much more common in people who live in the city than among those who live in natural environments.
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Walk through nature, gain peace of mind
Tree therapy or forest bathing is considered as an aid to heal for mental and body stress. Through it, it is about “absorbing” the atmosphere of the forest. And where did this come from?
The concept is inspired by ancestral Buddhist practices and Shintoism, a religion native to Japan that venerates the spirits of nature.
This technique proposes conscious, meditative and quiet walks, for one or two hours, in areas full of vegetation in order to awaken the senses and slow the pace of life. During the walk it is recommended to walk a maximum of two and a half kilometers, which implies a level of detailed contemplation. All this, with appropriate breathing exercises, which are guided by monitors specialized in the subject. A simple and free activity.
The idea is to turn off the mind, get into nature and the forest does the rest. But first you have to disconnect from the technological devices to take time seriously listening to the noise of the wind, observing the landscape, feeling the texture of the trees and smelling the flowers, every detail of the place. Of course, eye, you should avoid any type of fatigue, and for this it is recommended to drink infusions or fresh water.
The importance of “restoring” attention
According to the so-called attention restoration theory, the mind becomes fatigued when someone has to be focused for a long time due to the stimuli it receives from outside. This is what happens during a good part of life in the city, where these stimuli are constant and you have to be careful to, for example, not be overwhelmed by a car when crossing the street.
Walking through nature makes the opposite possible: contemplating trees, clouds or a sunset does not require a high concentration, and therefore means a restoration of attention to more natural levels. This break reduces stress and promotes well-being.
The “forest baths” and their benefits
In Japan they have developed a practice called Shinrin-yoku, which literally means “to absorb the forest atmosphere” and has been popularized as “forest baths”. It consists, in essence, of going to the forest not only to take a walk or contemplate its views, but to try to “absorb it” through the five senses: take a deep breath, get in touch with the aromas of nature, feel the textures from the ground, from the leaves of the plants, hear the song of the birds, the water courses, the wind between the trees.
This practice has been promoted since 1982 by the Japan Forest Agency. A study conducted in 2009 by a team of scientists from that country determined that taking “forest baths” could decrease cortisol concentrations, pulse rate, blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity, and in turn increase parasympathetic nerve activity , all this compared to the indexes that are recorded on average during life in the city.
The results of the physiological measurements – detail the conclusions of the article – suggest that Shinrin-yoku can contribute to the relaxation of the human body, and that the psychological effects of forest areas are a correlate of the various physical factors of the forest environment.
Trekking is also a great option
Trekking is synonymous with hiking, that is, hiking that is done mainly on trails and paths. The degree of difficulty is not usually high. It is a mixture of sports and tourism activity, which is mainly developed in natural environments.
Hiking is a sport in nature that, due to its simplicity, lack of risk and low economic cost, is a very suitable activity for large segments of the population. Traditionally this activity was carried out by the Excursionist Centers, but today, thanks to the marked trails, it is possible to make all kinds of walks of any level, and in any destination, both on their own and organized by guide companies or interpreters of the natural environment. At Barrington Tops you will find many trails that will surely make you feel excellent enjoying the trails and the environment surrounding you. Nature is here for you to enjoy it!
Allow nature to be part of your relationship by selecting one of the best romantic getaways, during the time you spend here at Barrington Tops Nest you will have at your disposal a fully equipped cabin with all you and your partner need for a wonderful stay. Speak to us now if you want to know all the details about our accommodation options