Tap Into the Therapeutic Power of the Forest

So often on my daily trail saunters, I look at something in nature, anywhere from the sky to the stones and roots, and a simple, single sentence, or just a word or phrase occurs to me and it feels like the perfect fit for the experience, a way to describe or explain it without describing or explaining it, like a poet, I suppose, though I’ve never been a poet and don’t try to be one. I’ve tried writing them down, but the act of doing it seems to dissolve the experience into the ether, and the second I put pen to paper, the words often escape me, like trying to write down the content of a dream. It’s something like losing the true experience of something by focusing attention on taking a photo of it. I see it as a combination of forest nature and my sylvan nature that prompts these moments of unbidden mindfulness. Why should it matter that I write them down or record them or send them to somebody? It doesn’t, and I’m not sure it does me any good to try, distracting myself from the experience. Still, Dr. Ellison’s 30-minute-sit challenge feels like a push from within to let those words get said beyond my little head, along with a profusion of these experiences lately. I’m going to give it a shot, writing down some of them. I’m out there at least 30 minutes every day anyway. Join me in the challenge.

Hiking Research®

By Mark Ellison, Ed.D.

What do you do that gives you energy, that fuels your ability to work and play? Do you have anything? Do you escape from the stress of life to allow your mind, body and spirit to heal?

There are so many benefits to our health from spending time in nature, particularly forests. Research has found that spending time in forests can increase attention capacity and creativity, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system and improve mood.

44693726_10216885191942854_1445662352333602816_n Sunset from the Waterrock Knob Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway (NC)

Are you tapping into the power of the forest as part of your plan to improve your health? It is a key ingredient that could take your health to the next level. It is the multiplier. If you are walking, biking, relaxing in an urban environment, then  you are getting health benefits. If you do the same in…

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2 thoughts on “Tap Into the Therapeutic Power of the Forest

  1. I have been doing little, not getting out. But when I do take a walk, sometime I find myself composing haiku in my head. I don’t know why. I don’t write poetry, certainly not haiku. But that’s what started happening.
    The poem would dissolve before I got home. I did think to pull my phone out and record a few on occasion. I even remembered to pull the phone out and play them back and write them down a few times.
    My exercise this weekend will be odd but fun – it’s our yearly home tour, and this year some houses are up 50+ stairs or are atop a long hill. So a weekend of wandering up and down, in and out of interesting houses. And then I get to do it all a second time as I somehow got volunteered to pick up all th flags marking the house!
    But a day wandering the woods sounds delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emilie, these are touching comments.

      I so often think of (or envision) writing down these sudden infusions of words, like your haiku, and often try, but after a thousand times not getting them to go anywhere, I find myself learning (or wanting to learn) to move in the direction of just “feeling” them or hearing them, and then just let them amuse me for a moment, and then let go. It could be, I think (I hope), they are process, not product … the WORKINGS of the heart and mind, not the works. It may be similar to the process of the physical exercise in the walks, its results or products vague but still having real effect, somehow. Sometimes one of these slippery sprites will stick and make it to a keyboard, when, I think (I hope), it can bless the process of another, as you have in these comments, for at least one person reading them.

      I hope the home tour was even more fun than you expected. Sounds like an enriching … um … process!

      Like

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