“Relax!” – There is probably no person who has ever relaxed after hearing this statement. Rather, quite the opposite. But what really relaxes the body and mind? In today’s fast-paced world, with what feels like non-stop stress in both professional and private contexts, it’s not so easy to always get through everyday life relaxed. It is, therefore, all the more important to switch off regularly and to really come to rest. From a scientific point of view, nature plays an important role in this. But why is that so?
Nature and scienceScientists have been dealing with the question of how nature affects the psyche of us humans for decades. The answer is always the same: nature is good for us. Numerous studies have measured how, for example, the stress hormone cortisol, blood pressure, and pulse rate drop when we spend a certain amount of time in nature. In some cases, 20-30 minutes are enough to reduce stress, improve concentration and lift the mood. According to the findings of the two renowned psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan from the University of Michigan, “everyday distance” plays a fundamental role in relaxation. We can only really relax when we have a certain distance from our everyday routine. This place of escape does not necessarily have to be far away; it can also be the park in front of the house of the forest nearby.
Nature and the importance of the forestForest bathing, also called Shinrin Yoku in Japanese, is becoming increasingly popular in the Western world as well. The forest has a positive influence on our nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. You consciously enter the quiet atmosphere of the forest, you smell the gentle scent of fresh greenery and you ground yourself noticeably. You feel the soft forest floor under your feet, lean against a strong tree full of serenity and absorb all the power and energy of nature.
The connection with nature is immediately noticeable and body and mind can completely let go and relax. Read more about forest bathing in the Travitude article “Shinrin Yoku – The forest as an oasis of well-being“.