Forest bathing in Jacques Cartier National Park
Until a few months ago, I had never heard of forest bathing. Apparently it is a decades old idea invented by the Japanese. Canada picked up on it. If there is one thing they have enough of here, it’s forest.
So what is forest bathing?
Go into the forest, without a specific destination. When you find a nice spot, stay there and practice mindfulness. Be aware of all the sounds and smells around you. Use your senses. It’s like a meditation exercise.
This summer I’ve hiked through the woods of Canada and seen animals here and there. Hiking is about exercising in nature. Sometimes it is about amazing view points you can only reach on foot. But this week, thanks to Sabrina, I took the time to hike slowly. To take it all in, to pay attention. And during one hike, the shortest I’ve done all year, we experienced more than in all other hikes combined.
What did we experience forest bathing in Jacques Cartier National Park?
There were toads hopping across the path. Squirrels and chipmunks chasing up and down trees. Woodpeckers at work on a colorful maple tree. We saw a beaver dam in a little creek. We sat on a bench to listen to the babbling brook. The sun was shining through the forest and lit up the yellow and orange colors. Every breeze meant more leaves falling to the ground in their downward dance.
Research suggests that spending time in nature helps against anxiety and depression. I don’t doubt it. Meditation is good for all kinds of things. Personally, I like a clear mind, free of distractions. Forest bathing helps with that.
Anyway, before you dismiss it as new-age bs, just try it 🙂 be aware of your surroundings and take it all in. If you don’t have a forest handy, I bet it also works on a beach or in a swamp. And once you have, please comment below – I would love to learn how you felt!