Big cities are high energy and fast-paced. Sometimes nothing can beat the excitement of adventuring a new one. I’ve been fortunate to visit some of the biggest in the world, and there are many I’d still love to experience. Paris and Rome are two on my wish list!
Then comes the drain
However, the downside of cities is that it can be extremely depleting to live in one full-time. The subway system in Hong Kong is one of the best in the world, and fun to ride as a tourist. But, I observed the residents carefully in the time I visited. People constantly sandwiched into crowded places, faces planted in their cell phones. There was little connecting with other people, smiling or even making eye contact. Everyone just seemed to be enduring their own personal grind, surrounded by soulless cement.
Be in tune with body messages
It is very important to be cognizant of the drain on our energy in cities. Sometimes it can be difficult or even impossible for city dwellers to escape to green space for a reprieve from the pollution, noise, and crowds. I realized about a year ago that the traffic noise near my house was constantly making me feel on edge. It was a low grade, incessant drain that at first was easy to block out. But there came a time when I realized it was slowly sucking the life energy out of me.
Find your piece of green, today
So as much as I hate moving (who doesn’t?), I bit the bullet and did it for my physical and mental health. My partner and I are now installed in a new neighborhood, which is a short 5-minute walk to green space with a large park and river. I head there frequently for my “nature medicine”, and I’m feeling in better balance these days. And never underestimate the power of even a little patch of nature to energize. If outdoor green just isn’t easily attainable, how about a mini-garden on your windowsill?
Such simple medicine, but so potent. There’s a great Time article about embracing nature as a mood booster. What Green Spaces Can Do to Your Mood is well worth the short read.
Breathe © Susan L Hart
Walk into this beautiful scene, just for a moment.
Feel the warm sun drenching your body.
Breathe deeply the sweet smell of green on the soft breeze.
Hear the gently trickling, soothing water.
Relax your muscles, and your mind. Go to that place in yourself that is wild and unencumbered.
Remember the essence of you.
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature, the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson
“Not just beautiful, though – the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.” ~
“and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.” ~
Photo courtesy Brandon Montrone, Pexels
Wild Interlude 1 © Susan L Hart
Did you know? The Japanese are avid tree lovers and forest bathers. You heard it right! Bathing in trees. Spending time around them and soaking up all their great energy.
Trees are powerful medicine
Major studies and experiments have been conducted in Japan to measure the positive effects of trees on humans. The results astound in terms of physical and emotional health. The benefits include improved immune system, lower pulse rate and blood pressure, and reduced incidence of depression. Have I piqued your interest? To find out more, go to this Quartz blog post: The Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ is scientifically proven to improve your health.
After you read it, you may just become the next tree bathing convert!
Forest bathing moves West
And lest you think this is just some ‘flash in the pan’ fad, I’m here to tell you, no it is not. In 1982, forest bathing integrated into the national health program in Japan and the studies quoted on health benefits go back as far as 2004. Tree bathing is lately being embraced in our Western culture as an antidote to stress.
A brief excerpt from the Quartz article:
“Julia Plevin, a product designer and urban forest bather, founded San Francisco’s 200-member Forest Bathing Club Meetup in 2014. They gather monthly to escape technology. “It’s an immersive experience,” Plevin explained to Quartz. “So much of our lives are spent interacting with 2D screens. This is such a bummer because there’s a whole 3D world out there! Forest bathing is a break from your phone and computer…from all that noise of social media and email.”
As far as I know, no one has figured out how to bottle this yet. And I hope they never do! I urge you to scout around soon for some trees, and let them work their magic.
They’re waiting for you…
Forest Bathing © Susan L Hart 2019