In our fast-paced, industrialized world, our mental health is at stake. Our modern lifestyle can leave us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and disconnected from the natural world. To shed light on the importance of nature for our well-being, we need to first understand the downside of our fast-paced lives. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting over 264 million people. Amidst this mental health crisis, the serenity of forests and the secrets of natural oxygen offer a respite.
The 21st century has brought many technological advancements, but it has also brought a unique set of challenges. The constant buzz of notifications, the pressure to perform, and the daily hustle and bustle can leave us feeling drained and anxious. It's no surprise that stress-related ailments are on the rise. However, there is hope, and it lies in our connection to nature.
Forests have long been revered for their calming and therapeutic effects. Research indicates that spending time in nature, specifically in forests, can have profound positive effects on our mental and physical well-being. This practice is commonly known as "forest bathing," or Shinrin-Yoku in Japanese.
Forest bathing is not about getting wet; rather, it involves immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, and scents of a forest. It's about mindfully experiencing the natural world around you. Studies have shown that forest bathing can reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure and boost mood.
One key benefit of forest bathing is the abundance of oxygen-rich air in forests. Trees are natural oxygen factories, constantly converting carbon dioxide into life-giving oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.
While most of us are aware that trees produce oxygen, the significance of this process cannot be overstated. Oxygen is essential for our well-being, as it fuels our cells, supports our brain function and detoxifies our bodies.
But there's more to the story than just oxygen production. Forests are also excellent air purifiers. They filter out pollutants and provide us with fresh, clean air to breathe. This natural purification process helps combat respiratory problems and enhances overall health.
Beyond the physical advantages, spending time in forests can have profound spiritual benefits. Many cultures throughout history have recognized the sacredness of forests and the deep connection between humans and the natural world. Forests provide a sense of awe and wonder, grounding us in the present moment and reminding us of our place in the grand tapestry of life.
Another practice that complements forest bathing is "earthing" or "grounding." Earthing involves connecting with the Earth's natural energy by walking barefoot on the ground. This practice allows us to absorb the Earth's electrons, which can have numerous health benefits. You can practice earthing by simply walking outside your backdoor barefoot every morning when you let the dog out.
Grounding works by restoring our body's electrical balance. It is believed to reduce inflammation, improve sleep and reduce stress. When we disconnect from the Earth's electrical charge due to modern lifestyles spent mostly indoors or on artificial surfaces, we can experience physical and mental imbalances.
When venturing into nature, it's essential to maximize the benefits of clean, oxygen-rich air. This is where Oxygen Plus (O+) comes into play. Oxygen Plus is a portable oxygen canister that provides you with a concentrated breath of pure recreational oxygen – filled with 99.5% oxygen.
When you bring Oxygen Plus on your trip – into nature or the modern world – it can help enhance you experience the benefits of relaxation in several ways:
Now that we've explored the benefits of forest bathing, grounding and the importance of oxygen-rich air let's explore some activities you do to more fully experience these benefits:
Find a serene forested area, ideally away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Take a leisurely walk, focusing on your surroundings. Pay attention to the rustling leaves, the chirping of birds, and the scent of the forest. Allow your senses to absorb the beauty of nature. Try to match the speed of your steps with the speed of your breath and feel the muscles from each leg activate and rest in rhythm. By synchronizing your body’s movements and tuning into the rhythm of movement/breath/mind, you can better connect to the rhythms of nature surrounding you.
Combine the power of conscious breathing with your forest experience. Practice deep, mindful breathing as you walk or sit in a peaceful spot. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This simple technique can enhance relaxation and oxygenate your body. By practicing gentle breath holds and lengthened breathing, we tap into the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), the “rest and digest” neuronal pathways that down-regulate stress.
Grounding may seem like an unfounded alternative health trend. Yet studies have shown it helps reduce inflammation, aids in wound healing, and helps with pain management, cardiovascular health and mental health. Based on our current understanding, it is believed to be such a panacea for health due to our bodies’ interaction with Earth's latent electromagnetic force, which helps our cells communicate as effectively as possible.
Sit spots are places in a park or natural area where you can sit quietly and observe your surroundings. Bringing a notebook to journal in or draw could be a good idea. Sit spotting is a practice that can be picked up just once, but ideally, it is something you incorporate into your week to help connect you with your surroundings. By consistently showing up, you will notice the minute changes in the landscape as the seasons change and as time passes. You will become acquainted with families of birds, watch trees grow old, discover when certain butterflies hatch, and observe the natural cycles of death and rebirth. By connecting with nature in a time-bound fashion, we come to appreciate a place on a more profound level, feeling ourselves as members and witnesses of this area. This gives us a tether point of connection to Earth, which helps us feel less lonely and more in tune with the bigger picture of life with all of its beauty through birth and death.
The mental health crisis in the industrialized world highlights the urgency of reconnecting with nature. Forests offer a sanctuary where we can rejuvenate our minds and bodies, thanks to the abundance of oxygen-rich air and the practice of forest bathing. Grounding breathwork, sit spots and earthing further enhance the benefits of being in nature, promoting balance and well-being.
To fully optimize your nature experience, consider bringing pure, revitalizing oxygen from Oxygen Plus with you when you venture into the world. Breathing concentrated natural oxygen effectively restores depleted oxygen levels to optimal levels – elevating your connection to nature by keeping you focused and alert. With a harmonious blend of natural experiences and technological advancements within reach, you can breathe easy and tap into natural serenity and healing power anytime, anywhere.