FOREST BATHING

I lived in New York City for twelve years. It was an exciting place but also stressful living amongst concrete buildings, nonstop noise and constant traffic. The West village didn't have any real parks and I missed green space. I later moved to the Upper West side where I had the choice of going to either Central Park or Riverside Park. I found myself wandering or sitting in the parks on the weekends just to be in nature.

nancgordon©2016

nancgordon©2016

I recently came across a Japanese term, Shinrin-yoku, which means forest bathing. It’s contemplative walking or sitting in the forest. It’s not about exercise but a reconnection with nature and has been proven to be therapeutic by boosting immunity, improving sleep and reducing blood pressure. Using all your senses being in the forest or park calms and distresses you. In Japan, it’s considered preventative health care.

I think that’s why I tend to paint flowers and now some landscapes. The meditative aspect of the forest and nature are ever present in my paintings. I find myself at the Arboretum regularly and love to walk around or sit quietly.

The next time you’re stressed take a walk in a park or the woods. Surround yourself with trees and greenery. See if it doesn’t reset and refresh you.