Find a place. A forest. A park. A garden. Then make time. Turn off everything electronic. You now have all you need- silence and trees.

Be still. Savour nature- be present to all you can see, all you can hear, all you can smell, all you can touch. The tiny insects scurrying across the earth, the spider’s web glistening in the sun, the sighs of the pines as they move in the wind, the feel of the tree’s rough bark on your hands, the unseen bird calling, the fragrance of the yellow wild flowers.

This is what your mind and your soul are craving. In Japan it is called forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku. Modern neuroscience has shown that spending time in nature can help calm your anxious thoughts, improve your creativity and increase your vitality and self- motivation. That isn’t a surprise. The feelings that come from forest bathing are rooted deep in our ancestry-  we were farmers for thousands of years and before that we were hunter gatherers. We’ve only been city dwellers for a few 100 years and have only been staring at screens for a few decades.

So it’s definitely worth finding a few hours a week to nourish yourself in nature- take a forest bath and experience the joy that William Blake described over 200 years ago:

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,

And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;

When the air does laugh with our merry wit,

And the green hill laughs with the noise of it.”

William Blake


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