Introduction to Forest Bathing
Everyone is talking about forest bathing, but what is it? And what's the best way to go about forest bathing? We'll explore the history of forest bathing in Japan and how you can give it a try for you and your next company retreat.
What is forest bathing?
Forest bathing is a Japanese practice of taking a walk in the woods. The Japanese name for forest bathing is shinrin-yoku. It comes from the fact that you can literally "bathe" yourself in nature, whether that's on a hike or meditating. Forest bathing has been growing in popularity in the US over recent years, but it's not just for hippies: you don't have to live near trees or spend hours hiking every weekend to reap its benefits. Taking advantage of even small amounts of time spent outside can help reduce stress levels and improve your mood while boosting creativity at work. If you can integrate forest bathing into your company outing, you'll likely sense a deeper feeling of connection to each other.
How to take a forest bath.
There isn't a "right" way to take a forest bath. It may come in the form of a silent hike where you replace the sound of your voice with what you hear in nature. You will naturally tune into the environment around you. Leaves rustling in the wind, birds chirping from above or a squirrel bouncing through the woods. The process of allowing the noise inside your brain to subside, replacing it with your senses, allows your brain to become calm and refreshed.
Why should your team go forest bathing?
Forest bathing isn't just a way to connect with nature, it's also been shown to have positive effects on your mental health. A study conducted by researchers at Japan's Kyoto University found that people who took part in forest bathing were less stressed and had lower levels of depression than those who didn't participate in this activity. This is likely because being around trees and plants can help you feel more connected to the earth, a feeling that can reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing. Studies have shown that forest bathing can have a sustained sense of clarity and focus, even after you've returned to the office.
Better leverage your senses.
The five senses are your ability to perceive the world around you. Sight, sound, smell and taste are easy to understand. But what about touch? The Japanese have a word for this: kannagara (literally "feeling something" or "touching things"). The sense of touch is actually an important part of forest bathing. The act of going into nature and immersing yourself in its beauty while paying attention to all your senses. It's easy to get lost in our phones and computers when we're out in nature, but if we take time to really feel what's around us -- the breeze on our cheeks or the soft grass underfoot -- we can better appreciate what makes up our world.
Spend a day in the woods and you might be surprised by how rejuvenated and connected to your team you feel.
When you take the time to explore the forest with your team, you'll be surprised by how rejuvenated and connected to your team you feel. In fact, forest bathing can have profound effects after a short amount of time. Just spending a day in nature can help boost productivity, creativity and energy levels.
The next time you find yourself in a stressful situation or just need some time away from work or home life, consider taking a trip up into the woods. You might be surprised at how rejuvenated and connected to your team you feel after just one day of forest bathing.
Planning a company retreat can be time consuming, confusing and expensive. Call our expert corporate retreat planners and schedule a free consultation regarding how we can save you stress and money.