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Forest bathing for men: nature’s own ‘think different’

Forest bathing is a powerful antidote to the relentless hustle of modern life, emphasising its deep-rooted benefits, both scientifically and historically, while providing practical guidance and celebrating the UK’s rich natural landscapes.

🌳 Hustle culture realities: The text begins by acknowledging the relentless pace of modern life, characterised by continuous calls, notifications, and meetings.

🌲 Forest bathing concept: It introduces ‘forest bathing’ (Shinrin-yoku) as a rejuvenating practice, contrasting it with more conventional forms of relaxation like retreats to remote islands.

🎵 Sensory immersion analogy: The experience of forest bathing is likened to the immersive experience of deeply engaging with a favourite music album.

🧪 Scientific backing: The benefits of forest bathing, like reduced cortisol levels, are supported by scientific studies.

🧬 Historical connection: The text emphasises an intrinsic, historical human connection to nature, dating back to our ancestors.

📱 Practical approach: Practical tips for forest bathing are provided, such as leaving phones behind and immersing oneself in natural settings for up to two hours a week.

🇬🇧 UK’s natural beauty: The abundance of natural beauty in the UK, from Scotland’s mystical forests to England’s Sherwood Forest, is highlighted as an ideal setting for forest bathing.

You wake up and feel it, don’t you? That pull from the world around you to constantly hustle. Calls, notifications, meetings—it’s non-stop. But what if I told you there’s a reset button hidden away where you’d least expect it? 

You don’t have to fly to a remote island or meditate on a mountain. The forest, my friends, is where it’s at. 

No, it’s not just a walk in the woods

Picture it: the canopy of trees above you, the Earth beneath, and a calmness that money just can’t buy.

Let’s set the record straight—forest bathing is not your typical hike. It’s an experience, a full immersion, like diving into a good book or getting lost in your favourite music album. 

Think about the first time you listened to the first album you loved. You didn’t just hear the music; you felt it. For me, that album was The Prodigy Experience, which I still love today.

In the same way, forest bathing is more than just a walk in the woods. It’s about taking it all in and embracing the nature around you. In other words, forest bathing – or as they say in Japan, Shinrin-yoku.

Shinrin-yoku, often translated as “forest bathing”, is just that. It’s not about swimming in a lake or river, but rather immersing oneself in the natural world, allowing the forest to cleanse your mind and spirit.

As we hustle in our daily lives, lost in screens and concrete jungles, taking a moment to breathe in the forest air, to truly be present among the trees, can be transformative.

It’s an invitation from nature itself, offering rejuvenation, serenity, and a deeper connection to the world around us.

This isn’t fluff—there’s real science to back it up

Now, I’m not just weaving a poetic tale here. There’s serious science to back all this up.

Studies have shown that spending time among trees can actually lower cortisol levels. Yeah, cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’. 

Imagine you’ve had a tough week full of meetings that seemed to go on forever. Normally, you might slump into the sofa with a beer to unwind. 

But what if you took a walk in the forest instead? You’re not just escaping the stress, you’re actively reducing it, scientifically.

This fantastic talk from Dr Sam Gandy gives a fabulous breakdown for you.

Graph of nature connectedness and wellbeing, from the Guardian newspaper

“Britain ranks bottom in Europe for nature connectedness”

– The Guardian

Tapping into our roots: it’s in our DNA

Now, here’s where it gets fascinating. 

We’ve always had this intrinsic bond with nature. If you look back to our cave-dwelling ancestors, they didn’t just survive in the wilderness—they thrived in it.

Let’s take archery as an example. Shooting a bow and arrow isn’t just about hitting a target; it’s a full-body and mind experience. The same goes for forest bathing. It’s not just a pastime but a reconnection to our primal selves. 

And let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a little more of that authentic experience in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world?

Getting started: your user guide to forest bathing

So, how do you do it? You don’t need an app or a manual, and there’s no WiFi required. 

You just need yourself and a piece of nature. Even a small park can work. 

To start: 

  • Leave your phone behind – at least set it to do not disturb
  • Then, go into the forest and just…be
  • Go bare goot, feel the earth under your feet like it’s a sandy beach
  • Breathe in the aroma like you’re walking into your grandma’s kitchen
  • Listen to the leaves rustle like they’re whispering secrets just for you.

Once you get a taste of it, you’re going to want to make this a regular thing. 

Start with maybe 20 minutes. Then, as you get the hang of it, let yourself wander for longer periods. Two hours is the golden window to spend in nature over the course of a week.

If you’re a gym enthusiast, think of it as the most enjoyable cool-down session you’ve ever had.

For our UK folks: the land is your playground

We’re fortunate in the UK to have an abundance of natural beauty. Whether you’re near the mystical forests in Scotland or the historical richness of Sherwood Forest in England, you have options. 

Let’s say you’re a Londoner; the likes of Hampstead Heath can offer you a slice of this forest bathing magic. It’s right there, just waiting for you.

Albert hoffman quote on nature | Tryb

The essence of what I’m saying is this: the forest is not just ‘out there’; it’s a part of us. 

It’s a missing puzzle piece that fits right into the chaos of our modern lives, turning it into a beautiful picture. So the next time you feel that weight on your shoulders, don’t just shrug it off. 

Do something incredible. Go bathe in the forest. Trust me, your mind, body, and soul will thank you.

Alright, that’s enough from me. It’s your turn. 

Go on, take that plunge. Find that forest. You never know, it might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.

And who knows? It might just inspire your next big idea, spark your creativity or simply make you feel alive. Isn’t that what life’s all about?