Even after spending the best part of our day glued to a laptop or phone for work, many of us resort to lounging in front of televisions to wind down. A far better alternative is to take a break from our devices, get outside in the fresh air and reconnect with the wonders of nature, the most powerful healer. Have you ever regretted whiling away an afternoon at the beach or a scenic hike? We didn’t think so!
Immersing yourself in nature can be grounding and make you feel centred. When life’s stresses start to take a toll, a change of scene is the perfect solution. Incorporating the outdoors into your wellness routine can be an effective preventative form of self-care.
Studies indicate that spending two hours a week in nature is associated with improved health and well-being, an easily achievable amount of time to set aside for a dip in the ocean or a stroll around a garden for city dwellers.
The myriad of physical, mental and emotional benefits of connecting with nature, based on an array of studies, include:
Eases feelings of depression
Reduce stress and anger
Bolster confidence and self-esteem
Perhaps the greatest upside to spending time in nature is its conduciveness to connection, not only with the outdoors itself, but also with local communities and the larger world. Studies measuring brain activity found that when participants viewed nature scenes, the parts of the brain associated with empathy lit up, indicating that greenery creates a bond with the planet and other people.
If you’re looking for ways to get the most out of your outdoor experience, forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku Japanese for “forest bath” is about simply being in nature and connecting through sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Leave your phone and any tech devices at home, the idea is to observe each element using all our senses: the rustle of leaves, smell of damp soil after the rain, or vivid colours of a butterfly, without distraction, to instill a sense of calm.
Studies have also shown that the longest living people on earth move their body regularly, but not strenuously. They move throughout the day rather than spending hours a week body-building, and do so with intention, often while in nature.
‘Earthing’ is another simple technique, which refers to walking barefoot on soil, grass or sand, to strengthen the relationship between our bodies and the earth, which has its own natural charge. A number of studies highlight that having direct contact with the earth’s electrons improves health by increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation and enhancing sleep. Walking in general creates physical and emotional rhythms due to its gentle, nourishing nature that gives us time for reflection. Walking barefoot in nature is a beneficial combination that both relaxes and enhances focus.
At Lumina Retreats, we use this knowledge to inform our offerings, and both the Mekong Wellness Cruise and Halong Yoga Cruise incorporate plenty of time spent in nature. Sailing tranquil rivers dotted with emerald cliffs and an abundance of greenery as you practice yoga, meditate or connect with the breath, promises to soothe and restore.
If you are interested in harnessing the healing benefits of nature and discovering Vietnam’s most stunning destinations in one of our upcoming retreats, please visit www.luminaretreats.com for full details. We look forward to guiding you on excursions to secluded beaches, mystical caves and so much more!