A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming One With Nature

Posted on June 25, 2021

A beginner’s guide to becoming one with nature

As of 2019, 83.65% of the UK population live in urban areas, including cities and towns where green space is harder to access.(1) Yet spending time in nature can help lower blood pressure, stress levels, reduce nervous system arousal, boost immune system function, increase self-esteem, ease anxiety, and improve our mood.(2)

One way to enjoy the many benefits of nature is to practise the Japanese art of shinrin yoku, or forest bathing. In Japan, trees cover two-thirds of the landmass but the majority of people live in crowded urban environments. So it’s easy to see why Japan was the birthplace of forest bathing.

Ready to dive into nature?

Find a spot

You don’t need a flight to the forests of Japan to become one with nature. Closer to home, with more than 1500 forests to explore in England alone, your nearest forest bathing spot is probably nearer than you think. Use Forestry England’s search tool to find a forest near you.

Pick a quiet time

Forest bathing requires peace, quiet and solitude, so try to find a time when the forest is less busy – perhaps early on a weekend morning or during a weekday afternoon. Larger forests will offer more opportunity to find a quiet spot, while smaller, lesser-known woodlands are likely to be less busy.

Turn off devices

To truly immerse yourself in the nature of the forest, turn off your phone or switch it to silent. Think of this as dedicated time for your own personal wellbeing and try to disconnect from digital distractions.

Move slowly

While forest bathing is great for your wellbeing, it isn’t physically strenuous like going for a run or a bike ride. Move slowly through the forest so you can be more mindful of your surroundings. Take more notice of the trees and plants around you, listening to the birds chirping or the wildlife in nature.

Observe with all your senses

In every season, forests are full of sights, sounds and smells to observe and enjoy. Notice the small details of nature and think about how the forest makes you feel.

Take deep breaths

Long, deep breaths tell your body that it can relax, so breathe in deeply before exhaling for twice as long to feel more at ease.

Take your time

The best boost to your wellbeing will occur with a two hour session of forest bathing, so spend as long as you can enjoying the woodland. If you have children, take them along with you to introduce them to mindfulness and the benefits of nature.


  1. Aaron O’Neill. (2021). United Kingdom: Degree of urbanization from 2009 to 2019. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/270369/urbanization-in-the-united-kingdom/.
  2. Jim Robbins. (2020). Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health. Available: https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health.