This is really not as naughty as it sounds. No nudity or howling at the moon required. In the span of a couple of days I encountered this phrase both in an email from the retreat center “things are very green right now…come enjoy forest-bathing” and from my friend from Divinity School whose visit prompted the mini retreat.
It turns out that forest-bathing (short, leisurely trips to the woods) has a powerful therapeutic impact. A myriad of studies of this practice, especially popular in Japan, document its benefits and capacity to reduce stress, anger, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness. My favorite factoid: apparently fresh forest air really is good for you. Breathing in the free-floating essential oils from the wood actually boost the immune system as documented by more ‘Natural Killer’ cells (those that are helpful in fighting cancer + viruses in the body) and decreasing adrenal fatigue. Awesomeness!
(If you want to read more here is a study on the immune system effects of forest-bathing by the National Institute of Health.)
And some favorite pics of our forest bath…
Here we are on the way to the airport post forest-immersion. Don’t we look all shiny + happy? This can be you too. That is what I love about nature. Put yourself in it and the nervous system-detox begins. With no effort on your part! xo Courtney
PS Like to plan your own retreat? I’m available to design it for you currently in Dallas or Austin or next year at Ghost Ranch. You can read more about retreats here… and if you cant get away (or even if you can) here is a little 10 second video of Bear Creek as a taste of nature. I’m not a stunning videographer. But this one is all about the bird calls. xo
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can schedule a complementary conversation to talk more.
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