Who doesn’t love a good tree? Tall, stately, elegant and beautiful, their quiet presence in our lives just makes us feel good.
But they’re not only here to look pretty. They’re absolutely vital for the health of our planet, in all kinds of ways. And since their debut 300 million years ago, they’ve marked a turning point for the Earth, helping to transform it into a thriving utopia for all creatures great and small.
Not only do they breathe oxygen, protect soil and support wildlife, they’re also carbon-munching powerhouses in the fight against the climate crisis. They have been proven to do everything from helping lower stress to raising property values, and believe it or not, even fighting crime. Yes, trees really are super-heroes!
It’s been proven that just looking at trees can make us feel happier, less stressed and more creative. That’s partly because they release chemicals called phytoncides. When we breathe them in, it can have amazing effects, reducing blood pressure, lowering anxiety levels and increasing pain threshold and they can even boost our levels of anti-cancer proteins. So exposure to trees and nature has also been proven to reduce mental fatigue and help concentration. So maybe skip that third coffee and go in search of your nearest oak!
Recently forest bathing has taken off as a source of health and wellness, with more and more over-worked individuals immersing themselves in a quiet wood or forest in something between a walk and a meditation to cleanse the self and relax.
Originating in Japan, forest bathing (also called Shinrin-yoku) is becoming hugely popular. This is a practice that involves doing mindful walks in forests, to soak up the relaxing vibes. It’s thought that doing something as simple as immersing yourself in the calming atmosphere of a forest has taken off as a source of health and wellness for mental wellbeing. Forests have a hush like a library in its many books of green leaves, and they share a certain peace if you’re willing to walk with them a little while.
When we’re exposed to certain chemicals released by trees (known as phytoncides), research reveals everything from reduced blood pressure and anxiety to increased pain threshold, and even an increase of anti-cancer proteins.
So the tree-huggers were right all along!