Forest bathing is a practice in which an individual takes a therapeutic walk in the forest surroundings. The University of Exeter discovered that people who spend time in forests have significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. The study analyzed data from over 20,000 participants and found that individuals who spend a minimum of 120 minutes per week in nature were less at risk of developing mental health issues. Forest therapy helps boost mood and promotes good physical health. As people seek natural remedies to tackle modern lifestyles, spending time in nature with no particular objective stimulates one’s senses and reduces stress.
Forest bathing, also known as forest therapy, is a practice of immersing oneself in nature to promote physical and mental wellbeing. A recent study by researchers at the University of Exeter found that people who spent time in forests had lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress compared to those who didn’t. The study revealed the benefits of forest therapy for improved mental health.
Forest therapy is not a new concept, but it has gained popularity in recent years as people seek natural remedies to combat the effects of modern lifestyles. The idea is to simply be in nature, without any particular objective or goal, and to let the senses be stimulated by the surroundings. This practice has shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost overall wellbeing.
The Study: Improvements in Mental Health
The University of Exeter study analyzed data from more than 20,000 people who participated in the UK government’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment survey. The study measured people’s exposure to nature through activities like gardening, walking, and forest therapy, and then compared it to their self-reported mental health.
The results showed that people who spent more time in nature had a lower risk of developing mental health problems. In particular, those who spent at least 120 minutes a week in natural environments had the lowest rates of depression and anxiety.
According to Dr. Mathew White, the lead author of the study, “Nature is an important public health resource and this study demonstrates the importance of contact with nature for improving mental health and promoting wellbeing.”
The Benefits of Forest Therapy
Forest therapy has many benefits for mental health, including:
1. Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Forest therapy has been shown to significantly reduce stress levels. Exposure to nature has a calming effect on the mind and body, which can help reduce anxiety and improve overall mental wellbeing.
2. Boosting Mood
Spending time in nature has been shown to boost mood and make people happier. The sights and sounds of nature can have a positive effect on the brain, creating a sense of peace and tranquility.
3. Promoting Physical Health
Exposure to nature has also been linked to better physical health, including lower blood pressure and improved immune function. This is partly due to the air quality in forests, which is cleaner and fresher than in urban environments.
4. Improving Focus and Attention
Spending time in nature can also improve focus and attention, especially in children. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of ADHD.
1. What is forest therapy?
Forest therapy, also known as forest bathing, is a practice of immersing oneself in nature to promote physical and mental wellbeing.
2. How does forest therapy improve mental health?
Forest therapy has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, promote physical health, and improve focus and attention.
3. How much time do I need to spend in nature to see the benefits?
The University of Exeter study found that people who spent at least 120 minutes a week in natural environments had the lowest rates of depression and anxiety.
4. Can I practice forest therapy anywhere?
While forests and other natural environments are ideal for forest therapy, any natural setting, such as the beach or a park, can provide similar benefits. The key is to be in a natural environment and let the senses be stimulated by the surroundings.
In conclusion, the University of Exeter study has highlighted the importance of spending time in nature for improved mental health. Forest therapy, in particular, has many benefits, including stress reduction, mood boosting, and physical health improvement. As our lives become increasingly urbanized, it is important to recognize the therapeutic benefits of nature and to make time to incorporate it into our daily lives.