When you have been busy at work all week, it can be hard to slow down. You may have been rushing around so much you no longer know how to stand still.    

According to a study sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 93% of his time indoors. But the good news is that even a small amount of time in nature can have an impact on our health. A two-hour time with nature will help you to unplug from technology and slow down. 

We all know how good being in nature can make us feel. We have known it for centuries. The sounds of the forest, the scent of the trees, the sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air — these things give us a sense of comfort. They ease our stress and worry, help us to relax and to think more clearly. Being in nature can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us.   

First, find a spot. Make sure you have left your phone and camera behind. You are going to be walking aimlessly and slowly. You don’t need any devices. Let your body be your guide. Listen to where it wants to take you. Follow your nose. And take your time. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get anywhere. You are not going anywhere. You are savoring the sounds, smells and sights of nature and letting the forest, beach or desert in.   When it comes to finding calm and relaxation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution – it differs from person to person. It is important to find a place that suits you. If you love the smell of damp soil, you will be most relaxed where the natural landscape provides it. If you love the feeling of sand in your toes and salt air in your lungs, or embrace the sand dunes and wind blowing over their crests, the effects of the forest, beach or desert will be more powerful. Maybe you have a place in the countryside that reminds you of your childhood or of happy times in the past. These places will be special to you and your connection with them will be strong.   

The key to unlocking the power of nature is in your senses. Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet. Listen to the birds singing and the breeze rustling in the leaves of the trees or the wind blowing thru the desert. Look at the different greens of the trees and the sunlight filtering through the branches. Smell the fragrance of the forest and breathe in the natural aromatherapy. Taste the freshness of the air as you take deep breaths. Place your hands on the trunk of a tree. Dip your fingers or toes in a stream. Lie on the ground. Walk bare foot through the grass, or beach sand depending where you are. 

Here is to your improved health & happiness.

 Ref: from FOREST BATHING: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happinessby Dr. Qing Li, published on April 17, 2018 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Qing Li, 2018.