As we become more and more comfortable with the increasingly technological world around us, finding time to connect with nature can be difficult. It’s easy to forget that accessible departure from stress and tech that has always surrounded us.
Forest bathing is a healing meditative practice that originated in Japan, involving walking among trees. Participants walk silently without their cell phones and focus on observing the environment. Turning their attention towards nature can lower stress levels, improve concentration, and decrease technology reliance. For my CSGC grant, I’m working with people from a variety of different backgrounds to introduce the concept of forest bathing, educate them about the benefits, and encourage people to begin habits of practicing. I was able to conduct this grant at a local park, in a quiet area with trees. After first talking with the participants about common technology habits and methods of coping with stress, we practiced forest bathing by setting down our phones in a basket and walking away from them towards the trees. We tried to focus on being present in nature and using our senses to become aware of and to take in our surroundings.
Immediately after, we sat down with pencils and paper to jot down a reflection, almost like a stream of consciousness. Participants wrote about a variety of experiences, detailing their observations through their senses. After also discussing their experiences, we were able to learn more about how they envisioned using forest bathing in the future and how it helped them.
I’m excited to continue this project through the summer, with the help of the generous grant from the Workman family and the Center for Service and Global Citizenship.