Yesterday, my wife and I visited a private garden tucked in the back of a beautiful neighborhood. A small gravel path wove through flowers and other attractive plants. There were several small artificial ponds with running water that really added to the overall ambience. Finally, the path led us over a littler bridge eventually ending with a wooden swing overlooking an artificial stream and waterfall. The weather was absolutely perfect. Sunny, 75 degrees with a nice breeze. We decided to sit together on the swing and it was so pleasant. Just enough shade to keep you cool but enough sun to warm the skin. We sat and enjoyed the quiet. Just the sound of water coming down the stream. Or the sound of the wind scattering through the old oak trees.
As we rocked we talked.... New phrase I just invented.... I started to think of how nice it was to sit outside surrounded by moving water, green plants, tall trees, the birds, the bees, and butterflies. There has to be something to this. Some kind of science explaining this immediate sense in relaxation, boost in mood, and overall peace.
So... I did what anyone else would do. I googled it. So after this longwinded intro, I have the fun fact:
Sitting outside in a garden is scientifically PROVEN to be good for you. In fact, it even has its own name - Forest Bathing. The name comes from a Japanese physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku. The original purpose was to serve as an antidote to the decrease in time spent in nature as there became an increase in urbanization and time spent indoors. It has since become an antidote for society's dependence and addiction on technology.
Some of you reading will likely be relieved to know that there is no actual bathing involved. Some of you, on the other hand, may be disappointed. Either way, the term is meant to describe a total submersion of the senses into natural surroundings. That means the smart phone stays behind.
Even 20 minutes of forest bathing a day can lead to benefits such as lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of harmful hormones — like cortisol, which the body produces when it’s stressed. This can help put you in a more calm and relaxed state.
Additionally, there is a chemical that is released into the air by evergreen trees called phytoncides. Scientists have been able to prove that increased absorption through inhalation has led to stronger immune systems in humans. Scientific data that has been collected throughout decades shows that people who live closer to or in areas with high amounts of evergreen trees tend to have better health and immunity compared to other areas. The comparison to people living in urban areas is vastly different.
There is so much more information on how beneficial our time outside and in nature is. But, this is already the longest Fun Fact Friday I have ever written. So we will stop here. I encourage you to do as much research as you want on all the benefits there are from being outside. Then, I encourage you to get out there and see it for yourself.