The Forest Five
How to Create a Sensory Experience, Every Time You Go Outside
When it comes to getting the most out of your outdoor experiences, nature’s equipped us with everything we need. Yep, we’re talking about the five senses: Hearing, Sight, Touch, Smell, and Taste. And while we definitely wouldn’t condone going out into the forest and tasting everything you see, there are simple ways to utilize all 5 senses to unlock your best self, every time you venture outdoors. Read on to learn how.
A common grounding technique that can help soothe anxiety and stop a panic attack in its tracks is to name five things you can see. This exercise will not only help you feel more at-home in your environment, but can also instantly transport your brain into a more mindful state. Instead of thinking about your never-ending to-do list at home, your brain will be focused on the beauty you’re surrounded by.
Next time you find yourself overwhelmed outdoors, simply take a minute to close your eyes and breathe. Without sight as your primary sense, you might notice some soothing sounds you otherwise wouldn’t have. Can you hear the birds chirping? A nearby pond rippling? Nature really has a way of being a wonderful white noise machine. Enjoy!
Not to lean too far into the old cliché “Stop and smell the roses,” there really is something to be said about pausing to reflect upon your surroundings. While there are times you’ll want to stop and smell—and time’s you’ll want to plug your nose and run (I mean, it is nature after all)—there’s beauty in awareness. Our Modern Approach: Go ahead, take a picture of the pretty flowers on your daily commute.
Did you know hugging a tree actually increases levels of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine? That means every time you take a sec to get in touch with nature, literally, you’ll feel a whole lot calmer and happier. Want to take it a step further? Walking barefoot on grass or soil has been shown to stabilize blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity and gut health. How’s that for natural healing?
For safety reasons alone, taste is a bit more complicated. Instead of heading out into the woods and taking a taste of whatever plant you fancy—consider bringing more natural foods into your routine at home. A mint tea at the end of the evening may help replicate those relaxed feelings you experience in nature, while harvest bowls or hearty salads might help you feel more connected with the earth in more aspects of your life.
No time to get outside and soak it all in? Spritz I’m Outside around your room, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. You’ll feel just like you’re Forest Bathing in no time.