When I started this project, I started to talk about it with a coworker. We spoke about how the Japanese use forests to help him de-stress. He mentioned how he notices the difference to his mind and body as soon as he walks amongst the trees. He can feel the stress leave him. He feels better.
It got me thinking, why does this happen? Why is it important we all get out into nature?
The Japanese have a type of therapy that they find is working. It’s called Forest Bathing.
Silvotherapy – Forest bathing.
(Photo from: Global wellness Institute)
What is it? Walking into the green and soaking up the air, feeling the tension, anxiety and stress leave your body. Studies taken by Japanese researchers found that just taking a 40 minute walk among on a forest floor reduces the glucose levels in diabetics, it has a positive affect on those who suffer with depression and even anger.
How can we do this though if there are no forests left, for both us and the wildlife?
Can you guess roughly how many trees are cut down every year? I was shocked when I looked into it. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2016 State of the Forests report, it revealed that 7 million hectares of forest are lost annually while agricultural land expands by 6 million. How many acres is that annually that’s lost? 172,973,76. All that land decimated.
What is the impact on the Earth??
Well animals lose their home. How would you feel if you were minding your business and all of a sudden you were evicted from your home with no where else to go and no say in the matter. You have grown up there, it is familiar and all of a sudden it is gone. That happens to so many, many animals everyday and they have no voice.
Trees soak up the carbon dioxide and pump out clean oxygen. Now, people chop down trees, and replace them with farm animals or mining facilities. Creating more carbon dioxide becoming a burden on the climate, because they got rid of the trees that were helping us.
Showing a tree some love – Tree hugging.
If you have never hugged a tree, you are missing out. Why is it beneficial? Hugging a tree basically makes you happy. It releases the hormones oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin.
Trees are more than amazing. We need to stop the destruction of them, otherwise we are going to have none left.
Here are some charities to check out and/or support if you are able:
- Stand for Trees
- The Nature Conservancy has some great articles to read about why we need trees and what can be done to save as many as we can.
- Hugging trees are good for your health
Sources: The Understory,Forest Bathing, Definition of Forest bathing
To learn how you can get involved with my project, check out my Nature and Us page.
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