Health and wellbeing through forest bathing
New Years Wishes
Health this year is probably one of the most important wishes we have wished to our loved ones, family and friends for the New Year. The main thing is that everyone is healthy. Everything else will work out over time.
What does health mean?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined what it means by health as early as 1946: "Health is a state of perfect physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of illness and ailments."
What makes you happy?
Our mental health or well-being has a direct impact on our physical well-being. Everything that makes us happy. also makes us feel better and healthier. For many, nature has a positive effect on the body and mind. It reduces stress and lets you breathe more freely and deep.
Nature is diverse and there is something different for everyone that triggers this feeling of happiness: The security, the smells and the special noises of a forest, the endless expanse of the sea, the glitter of a beautiful lake, the imposing, snow-capped peaks of a mountain range. My favorite is the forest, especially in autumn. But even now in winter there is nothing better than being in the forest without having to go anywhere.
What exactly is forest bathing?
It is a mindfulness practice that originated in Japan. The term dates back to the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called Shinrin-Yoku. This translates as "forest bathing" or "perceiving the forest atmosphere with our senses".
It is not about physical activity such as hiking or jogging. You simply connect with nature through your own senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. Mental well-being, mood and quality of sleep increase, and feelings of fear decrease. The greater the mental stress, the stronger the effect. The color green, which has a calming effect, also plays a role.
Just 15 minutes of walking in the forest reduces the feeling of stress, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and lowers stress hormones in the blood. It strengthens the immune system and leads to more of the body's own killer cells. Researchers led by the Japanese professor Qing Li suspect that messenger substances from trees, so-called terpenes, are responsible for this, which we absorb through breathing during a walk in the forest.
Benefits of a healthy forest
Trees filter and clean the air and protect the soil from erosion. They absorb carbon dioxide and enrich the air with oxygen. A healthy, near-natural forest stores a lot of water, for example after heavy rain or floods. This benefits the groundwater, streams and rivers when the weather is drier.
In the shade of the treetops, it is up to eight degrees Celsius cooler in the forest on hot days than in the city. They provide shade and evaporate water; In addition, their leaves reflect the short-wave rays of the sun. This lowers the temperature under their broad crowns.
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