Genre: Non-Fiction, Philosophy
Release date: 2018
We love forest walks and after reading the blurb of this book we both knew we wanted to read it. Bren read this book first, then I (Jeffrey) read it when she was finished. One of the reasons why we wanted to read this book was because it’s part of a series that covers several Japanese philosophies and their lifestyle. I read the first book earlier this year, it’s called Ikigai and although I liked it, it was a book that was missing solid references to scientific research. I liked it, but it wasn’t a particularly well written book and I considered it mostly a philosophical work. Yet, Shinrin-Yoku, by the same writers appealed to both Bren and me. Especially Bren, who was looking for a way to lower stress and improve her sleep. The cover says; “The Japanese secret for better sleep, less stress and a healthy, happy life.”
A bold claim to make, eh? 😉 So, what did we think about this book? Continue reading to find out!
Bathing in the forest
Shinrin-Yoku literally means: Forest bathing. This book tells us that we should try to go into the forest at least once a week, because this has a positive effect on our body and spirit. The entire book tries to explain why we should do this. There’s been a ton of research on the subject of forests and plants and how they have beneficial effects for Humans and this book (thankfully) contains a lot of references to scientific research! 😀
“It’s no coincidence that one the most important discoveries in the history of science, the universal law of gravity by Newton, was done under an apple tree.” — page 51-
Finding peace in nature
People who live in cities are constantly surrounded by shades of grey and don’t get enough sunlight. The fact that forest walks can have a beneficial effect has been known for a long time. Ancient Japanese philosophers knew it and you can see this woven into their culture. Buildings are built around trees and there’s a general respect for nature. Shintoism has always had great respect for nature and the Gods of the forest. The good thing is that we now have scientific proof that forest walks have beneficial effects on us! Perfect!
Practical application of Shinrin-Yoku
This book does not only contain a lot of theory and history of Japan and how they honour nature, it also contains tips to apply Shinrin-Yoku in our daily lives. The writers understand that it won’t always be possible for us to go to a forest, which is why they recommend trying to do this at least once a week. Trees release phytoncide which have a positive effect on our bodies and can help prevent disease, up to three days after our visit to the forest.
What I loved about this book, especially when compared to Ikigai, was that all of the theories in this book are based on scientific facts. The philosophical parts were well written and made me realise just how much I want to visit Japan sometime. Bren and I try to go for a walk every week, which will become a bit harder now that the days are getting darker and there’s usually a lot of rain in the Netherlands around this time of year. Nonetheless this book was a good read, because it confirmed our belief that forest walks are beneficial to body and mind. The book is also about mindfulness, a term I personally dislike, because it’s so trendy. What it all boils down to is that whenever you enter a forest, you should forget about your daily life for a moment and just be in the moment, and enjoy the walk without having a particular goal in mind. This book can be a great help to get the right mindset to do so. I recommend this one to everyone who feels they experience a lot of stress and want to find some piece of mind. My rating for this book is a solid four stars!
I absolutely loved this book 🙂 Most people who know me know that I’m Pagan, and that I believe in the power of nature and its beauty. Nature is very important to me, but a lot of people would always say that a lot of what I believe in is nonsense. While reading this book I couldn’t help but smile, because this proves that my lifestyle and my beliefs are confirmed, through science nonetheless! Nature is of great benefit to us all, Humans and animals alike. I didn’t need this confirmation for myself, but it felt really good that everything I said to other people has been proven now. A lot of what is said in this book, I already knew, but that didn’t mean it was boring to read. I learned quite a lot while reading Shinrin-Yoku and there were a lot of tips I want to try for myself. This book is educational and well written, whether you want to know more about Shintoism, or want help to sleep better, or experience less stress, this book is for you! I really enjoyed it and will put a lot of tips to use in my life 🙂 We already go for walks regularly, but we’ll enjoy them even more using the Shinrin-Yoku method. My rating for this wonderful book is four stars!
Bren & Jeffrey