There is a concept known in the biologist, botanist and horticulturalist community which is a fairly recent one called “Tree Bathing” Sounds interesting… you say. What is tree bathing? you ask. What does it entail? you ask again, more skeptically.
Tree bathing only requires that you sit or walk in nature and what recent science is confirming that happens is that your heart rate goes down, your mind starts working more efficiently and you find a greater sense of peace.
People have noticed this for ages but the science involved is wild. Peter Wohlleben has a book called the “Hidden Life of Trees” that shows that nature is much more involved and almost mystical than most people realize. The book points out that trees remember who their family is and send nutrients through the ground to the trees that are their family. Science is suggesting that something a long those same lines happens when we walk through nature. Being in a complex ecosystem of plants, fungi and insects somehow gives us more calm energy and the results can be studied for 6 weeks after the person has left the forest.
What this means for us as working and productive people in college, at a job, taking care of families, which can create a lot of stress, is that spending a half a day or a day in nature once every 6 weeks minimum can make you more productive. Now science backs it up too, so people skeptical of our inherent connection with nature have a reason to go out to the woods as well. I feel a noticeable change in how I feel and communicate with others after only an hour and a half walking around a forested area so the commitment isn’t a big one.
Go forth and have fun in the woods.
Update: If you suffer from winter blues you can also find ways to improve your mood with the sun.