Many Americans live fast-paced lives, rushing from one task to another without taking time to stop and decompress. However, multiple studies show that slowing down, connecting with nature, and being present in the moment can significantly improve mental health. Forest bathing is one way to accomplish all three of these objectives.
At Hope Lodge in scenic Lake Arrowhead, we incorporate forest bathing into our comprehensive addiction recovery program. Let’s explore what forest bathing is, its mental health benefits, and how our clients can use it to aid in recovery.
How to Take a Forest Bath
Forest bathing, or “shinrin-yoku,” originated in Japan during the 1980s. It involves immersing yourself in the forest as a sensory experience. Forest bathing, or ecotherapy, doesn’t mean strenuous outdoor exercise like mountain biking, rock climbing, or hiking. It’s about soaking up the joys of nature through sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.
For example, forest bathing could look like sitting quietly under a tree, observing the leaves rustling in the wind and listening to the birds sing high above you. This practice encourages you to be more mindful, breathe in the fresh air, and let nature’s tranquility wash over you.
The Mental Health Benefits of Forest Bathing
Research has uncovered a connection between improved mental health and spending time in natural, green spaces. Consider these reasons to try forest bathing.
- Stress relief: Being in nature can reduce stress hormone production, providing an excellent stress-relief outlet.
- Improved mood: Natural beauty triggers feelings of awe, resulting in mood elevation and an overall sense of well-being.
- Increased focus and concentration: Going outdoors can improve cognitive functioning and increase concentration levels.
- Boosted immune system: Exposure to natural surroundings boosts immune system function by increasing white blood cell production.
- Enhanced creativity: By reducing mental fatigue, time spent in nature can improve your problem-solving skills.
Forest Bathing at Hope Lodge
Hope Lodge, nestled on the banks of Arrowhead Lake in the San Bernardino National Forest – also known as “The Alps of Southern California” – offers an unrivaled setting for practicing forest bathing. Here, you can leave behind the stresses and triggers of daily life and immerse yourself in an environment conducive to healing.
Our small, private center provides a complete continuum of care, from medical detox to aftercare planning. While we believe in the efficacy of evidence-based therapies to help clients recover from addiction, we also supplement these proven best practices with several amenities larger facilities usually do not offer. Our recreational activities help you take healthy risks while having fun in recovery. We’ve seen firsthand how these adventures can inspire strength and resilience –essential attributes for lifelong recovery.
We invite all our clients to become active participants in their journey to wellness. Forest bathing in the heart of nature is a vital part of this process, offering you a holistic recovery path that recognizes and nurtures the inseparable connection between the body, mind, and nature.
Tap Into Nature’s Healing Power at Hope Lodge
Substance abuse recovery is an intensely personal journey, and at Hope Lodge, we strive to make it as enriching as possible. Forest bathing is one way we harness nature’s healing abilities, offering a unique path to recovery and a renewed connection with the world around us. If you want to explore the benefits of forest bathing as part of your healing journey, connect with us today.