Gardening Trends â…– – Craving Wellness
By: Rob Sproule
“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better. ”
– Albert Einstein
We’ve become a stressed-out species. On average, we spend over 90% of our time indoors, and, when we’re outdoors, we’re rarely aware of what nature, hidden in plain sight around us, can give.
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term, coined in the 1980s, that translates into “Forest Bathing.” It’s become a cornerstone of preventative healthcare in Japan, and it’s making its way across the Pacific. Most of us have never heard of it, let alone considered it to be a mainstream trend. But, 20 years ago, you could say the same about yoga.
Forest Bathing is soaking up the sounds, smells, and sights of natural environments to achieve physical and mental wellness. It’s an invitation to walk through a forest, park, or even through a garden path, and allow nature to calm your nerves and help you find your balance.
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From Aleppo to Ei Nino to Trump, it’s been an anxious year. Our addiction to technology doesn’t help. We’re either watching bad news on TV or checking our phones every 6 seconds. We’re surrounded by negative stimuli that we experience but cannot control, so it makes us feel helpless. We know what people whom we haven’t talked to in 20 years had for breakfast, but we still feel alone.
Nature shows us that we’re neither helpless nor alone. A simple walk through the woods or even our garden alters our perspective from helpless spectator to empowered actor. The complex fragility of nature integrates us with it and gives us an immediate sense of purpose.
Forest bathing isn’t “pie-in-the-sky.” The benefits that have been scientifically proven include:
“¢ Reduced blood pressure
“¢ Improved mood, focus, and creativity
“¢ Improved sleep quality
“¢ Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
“¢ Boosted immune system
“¢ Accelerated recovery from illness or surgery
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The Science of Wellness:
Instinctively, we know that nature calms anxiety. Taking a moment to smell a flower is a small shield against our daily barrage of stress. Recent studies have turned instinct into fact by identifying a soil-borne bacterium in nature that has the same impact on the brain as Prozac.
The studies of the benefits of green spaces don’t stop there. Here’s a small sample of what recent studies have demonstrated:
After 4 days on the trail, hikers demonstrated an astonishing 50% boost in creativity compared to being inside
A study consisting of hundreds of thousands of people found a strong correlation between overall quality of health and living within 1 km of a green space
For a Canadian perspective, David Suzuki launched the 30X30 Challenge in May, 2013. 10,000 Canadians from 250 different workplaces committed to spending 30 minutes outside every day for 30 days. Afterwards, participants were asked how the experience affected them. Overwhelmingly, the participants reported having more energy, feeling more productive at work, enjoying better quality of sleep, and having less stress overall.