It’s a foggy morning and I’m out for a run in the forest. I have been doing this for the last week or so. There is a soft light filtering through the thick branches, the road ahead is laid with brick-coloured leaves, the fresh air and the trees smell divine and in the stillness of the autumn morning, the only sound I can hear is the tapping of chestnuts hitting the ground. This has become my favourite moment of the day.
We all need a space in the wild to be ourselves
The forest is just about to be awoken by children laughing as they jump in muddy puddles or watch an insect; they are here to play at their daily forest nursery. There is also the sound of a bowsaw from a carpenter’s workshop and deeper into the forest there is a holiday house. Can you imagine yourself spending the night here? Canopy and Stars have some fun holiday treehouses and other huts in the forest.
In other woods, you can find campsites and occasionally a festival. We all need a space in the wild to be ourselves for a while, away from technology and the problems of the real world. The forests are infused with new life and people are increasingly looking for ways to reconnect with nature.
“Nature calms you, it settles you and allows you to step back and reflect on the very essence of what living is about. Signe Johansen, 'How to Hygge'. ”
“In the environmental medicine there is the concept of vitamin G,” says Daniela Haluza at the Med-Uni Vienna. G is for green! While we know that nature is very important for our health, it’s not immediately clear how this vitamin G works. Haluza explains that exercise in fresh air and green areas helps our body to release endorphins. This reduces our level of stress and our blood pressure. The air is fresh because the plants have reduced the fine dust particles.
Beside this, all our senses are alive. We can smell the plants, hear the birds tweeting and the leaves rattling and we are walking on uneven ground. And because nature stimulates all the senses, many of us remember places and experiences in the outdoors that made our childhood special – a hill we sledded down in the winter, dens built with friends, foraging for food with grandparents, playing hide-and-seek until the sun went down.
In South Korea, doctors prescribe time in the so-called ‘healing forest’ to people who are overstressed from work or have health problems. In Japan, forest bathing is a popular nature therapy of spending time in a forest to reduce stress and gain a sense of wellbeing.
Are you looking to reconnect with nature? We are Wilderness is offering a 30 day program to rewild your life, a self-directed program to spend at least 30 minutes outside in nature each day for 30 days (with minimal use of electronics).