What to do with that feeling of arrgh.
Sometimes, it can all get a bit too much. Take your pick. Money not going far enough. That feeling everyone wants a bit of you. The distinct impression that the entire bloomin’ world is falling apart. Or any other type of hassle – in the broadest sense of the word hassle. The good news is, help is at hand. No tricky skills or training required and there’s no cost either.
What is it you have to do? Grab some time for yourself – just you. And spend a while in pretty well any bit of woodland. Living where we do, in Caversham, none of us lives far away from somewhere with a few trees. All you’re looking for is somewhere to sit down, lie down, go for a walk or whatever. And once you’re there … well, that’s almost it. Turn off your phone and simply enjoy some quiet time. Listen to what’s going on within earshot. Notice what’s around you. Feel how a tree’s bark actually is.
Odd though it might seem, in my experience and that of many others, this is a use of your time that genuinely does help.
You can read people say you should spend at least two hours in woodland to get the real benefit but I think that’s over the top. It’s nice if you can take that kind of time-out, but if you haven’t got that long to spare, a little is far better than nothing. And it doesn’t have to be some huge remote forest either.
You can get side-tracked with notions of mindfulness and similar too. If that’s what rings your bell then fine – I’m not knocking it. But spending some time in a wooded area doesn’t have to be any kind of big deal – anything you have to learn and master. The Japanese call it ‘forest bathing’ and the Germans ‘forest aloneness’. But whatever you want to call it, in essence what it’s all about is simply – properly – chilling out for a while under some trees. Chilling out and looking up – not in the literal sense (marvellous as looking up at trees can be), but looking up from all the hassles that you’re too often focussed on. Doing something that straightforward can do a lot to restore a sense of peace and a sense of perspective.
Trying to get a little more scientific about it and reading around the topic a bit, in a nutshell the research says spending a time under some trees can reduce your blood pressure and help bring down your cortisol levels. (Cortisol is identified as a stress hormone.) There’s far more to it if you want to find out more. To make things easier, below, are a few links to different websites, coming at it from varying perspectives. (And, of course, don’t overlook your own safety.)
As for me, I’m not pretending I have any proper medical expertise or scientific knowledge. (All the usual caveats about any advice apply.) All I am offering is my first-hand experience. And of course any approach to it all might well need to be modified to suit you. But however you fine-tune it, don’t be daunted. It’s simple, achievable. Just try different things out. If what you first try doesn’t work, tweak accordingly. You’re risking nothing but might gain significantly.