Once again, scientists are proving what indigenous people and nature lovers have always known: being outdoors is healthy! Specifically, new research shows that being surrounded by a forest environment, or “forest therapy” can improve your health. And may even help fight cancer.
In Japan, forest therapy, or shinrin-yoku, is standard preventative medicine. It’s not about being alone in the wilderness or extreme outdoor sports, it’s about allowing your body and psyche to hang out in the peace of the woods.
The term shinrin-yoku was coined by the Japanese government in 1982, but is based on ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices. [There’s that ancient wisdom again!] It’s also known as “forest bathing.”
It was just a few decades ago when people made fun of “tree huggers” — as a former “tree hugger” myself, I now feel thoroughly vindicated!
The research on “forest therapy”
Japanese researchers studying “forest therapy,” have found measurable health benefits:
Over 8.6 trillion text messages are sent across the world each day. And not one of them is from me.
I don’t text. And it’s not because I’m a technophobe.
As a writer, I spend most of the day on the computer and thank God regularly for the convenience it brings me.
And even though I love my iPhone, I have had texting disabled on it. Here are my reasons:
One: When one of my favorite T.V. characters was asked why he doesn’t text, he replied “It’s for teenage girls.” I’m inclined to agree.
The average teen sends over 3000 texts per month. But the average teenage girl sends 4000. And these texts have a 100% open rate. How does that leave time for anything else?
What does the first day of spring mean for us?
This year the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is Wednesday, March 20, 7:02 a.m. Eastern Time: a day of equal balance of the hours of light and dark before the sun continues its journey towards longer daylight hours and warming temperatures.
The equinox energy is strong for four days before and after March 20th, giving us time to bask in the opportunities and lessons it brings.
THE SPRING EQUINOX IS NOT JUST ANOTHER DAY
Ancient cultures throughout history have celebrated this time of rebirth of Mother Earth. But what does it mean for us?
The earth is comprised of 70% water and, on average, so is the human body. That alone is a giant clue as to how interconnected we are. What happens to the earth’s energy also happens within us, therefore we can experience more harmony if we work with the earth’s cycles instead of ignoring them. It’s not just another day.
Why listen to a guided meditation?
Meditation is one of the most beneficial methods of reducing stress and improving health. It has been proven to:
- reduce anxiety
- bring deep relaxation
- lower blood pressure
- improve sleep
- strengthen the immune system
If you do not have a regular meditation practice, guided meditations are an excellent place to start. Best of all, it’s effortless.
Take a seven minute break today to listen to and watch this video. It includes beautiful visuals for those who’d prefer to focus on something with their eyes open.
Guided Meditation: You Are Light
Guided Meditation: You Are Light
If you enjoyed this meditation, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it by clicking one of these buttons or commenting below.
“The magic of family meal time comes not from the food on the plate but from who’s at the table and what’s happening there. The emotional and social benefits that come from family dinners are priceless,” said Elizabeth Planet, CASA’s Vice President and Director of Special Projects.
Christmas and Thanksgiving have always been my favorite times of the year: time with family and joyous celebrations. From my 20s on, I lived in California and my family was on the East Coast so I chose Christmas as the time to go East to visit, and spent Thanksgiving with friends in California.
It was always a great day, but there was one very interesting phenomenon that happened most years: everyone was very attached to having dishes from their childhood Thanksgivings. That meant we often ended up with multiple duplicate dishes, just made with different recipes.
I recall a Thanksgiving dinner for 8 that had two large turkeys, four different bowls of cranberries and an assortment of other dishes that could have fed 40. I knew at the time it was because each of us wanted to recapture the magic of our childhood Thanksgiving, but only recently did I start to give it more serious thought.