Relaxing in the forest

Spending time in nature can be good for your health, so a growing number of people are practicing “forest bathing.” There’s no tub or soap involved – just fresh air and a canopy of trees.

Farjana Islam is a certified nature and forest therapy guide who leads forest bathing walks in the D.C. area.

“You just go a quarter of a mile in three hours,” she says. “You’re just noticing what’s around you, using your senses of what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing, what you’re smelling, what you’re tasting in the air. … And then people go into circles and then we have a sharing piece, which could be a twig on the floor, and we share what we’ve seen.”

Islam says forest bathing improves mindfulness and reduces stress. And it can help people see the value of trees, not only for the climate, but for their own well-being.

“People can decide if they want to become environmental stewards, if that’s their next step, and they feel called to do that,” she says.

Islam says she once thought that caring for the environment meant protecting a far-away landscape, such as the Arctic, national parks, and rainforests – awe-inspiring places of grandeur.

“But, like, the tree outside my window, that’s super awe-inspiring to me now,” she says.

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Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.