Why The Smells Of The Forest Are So Relaxing

Why The Smells Of The Forest Are So Relaxing

The scent of trees is so relaxing. Wooded areas have a sense of calm, mysticism, and healing. There’s just something about them.

Trees are one of the most populous living things on planet Earth. They clean our air, they look beautiful, and they give off pristine glows. They also smell great.

But why are the smells of the forest so relaxing? Science has proven that trees have a biophilia effect. This means it heals us just from the aroma. It actually boosts our hormone levels that make us feel good inside.

Why We Love Smells Of The Forest

An emerging practice called nature therapy involves spending time outdoors and enjoying the mood boosting benefits it provides. But nature and forest therapy aren’t modern creations.

The ancient Japanese coined the term “Shinrin-Yoku” which means forest bathing. That doesn’t mean getting wet in water. Rather, it means taking in the sights, feelings, smells, and sounds of trees.

Immersing yourself in nature helps you become more present, more calm, and more relaxed. It can actually reduce anxiety and promote positive thinking, and even empathy.

This is why a casual stroll in nature, especially surrounded by trees, feels so good. After all, we didn’t evolve in concrete urban centers. We evolved surrounded by nature and all its gifts, especially trees.

So it’s no wonder that all the unique smells in the woods remind us of our ancestry and connect us with the Earth unlike any other experience.

Other Reasons That Forests Are So Pleasing

Just think of the modern world — most people have their heads down on their smart phones all day. If they’re not on their phone, they’re watching tv, or riding the subway, or otherwise surrounded by metal and electricity.

When you remove yourself from urbanity, you can get in touch with the green purity of nature again. The color green even has positive mood boosting effects.

This is not to mention the mental benefits of detaching from the business of life to relax and enjoy the scenery.

It’s not just wishful thinking, it’s proven. Studies show that just a short 20 minute walk in the forest can reduce our stress hormones, causing our mind to feel more clear and happy.

So whether you like the spiritual aspect of forest bathing, or prefer to follow the hard science, here’s how to get some of these awesome benefits of being in the green-filled wilderness:

How to “Forest Bathe”

Here are some easy tips to enjoy the health and mindset advantages of forested areas:

1. Smell A Tree

Slow down and approach a tree. Smell its bark. Smell its leaves. Smell the roots. Some might smell like spices, others like flowers. Enjoy the difference, and appreciate a pure breath of nature’s perfume.

2. Bring a Printed Tree Guide

As you spend time in a forest, pick up leaves, brush, needles, and other parts that are from trees. Smell them, then try to identify them based on the pictures. Put away the smartphone, and really get in touch with nature.

3. Smell the Ground

Is the ground wet? Smell the fresh soil that gives life to trees. Or perhaps you live in a dry area — take in the cedar, smoky, or rocky smells. Make it a game, smelling everything in your path.

4. Close Your Eyes

Try to guess the smells that you’re noticing. What kind of tree or plant is it? What do you notice? What do you like? What’s great about this natural experience?

5. Take Care of Trees

Grow a tree or plant inside your home. Give it plenty of water and sunlight, as suggested for that species. Feel the love of giving life to something that provides so many benefits to your planet.

When in doubt, slow down and just use your senses. Smell is a powerful, yet underappreciated sense. And it can connect you with the natural world in ways you may not have realized before.