1. Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing)
Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing in Japanese, is the simple and therapeutic act of spending time in a forest.
If you’ve ever walked through a forest, listening to the birds, and watching the sunlight fall through the leaves, you’ve already done one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Even Japanese doctors recommend bathing in the forest to recover from the stress of city life.
Leave your cell phone at the hotel – this should be your opportunity for a digital detox – and take a walk through the forest. You don’t have to hike, run, or climb mountains. You can even sit if you want. Take a moment to notice your surroundings and listen to the sounds that surround you: Birds chirping, leaves rustling and streams babbling. Breathe in the fresh, fragrant air and take in the texture of the ground and the shapes of the leaves in the sky. Feel the soft, green moss covering the shady stones or the rough bark of the trees. Allow the silence around you to affect your mood and make you forget the constant movement of the city. This is a visual and auditory experience.
In Japan, forest bathing has become an important part of health care. According to Japanese research, forest bathing improves sleep quality, mood, concentration, and stress levels.
2. Fika (Taking Coffee Breaks)
Fika (pronounced fee-ka) is an important part of every Swede’s daily life. Fika is more than a coffee break with delicious sweets; it is the art of taking a moment to connect with old and new acquaintances, relax and enjoy the finer things in life.
Swedes, often described as aloof, quiet, and unsociable, love fika. They get together with friends, meet new people, explore potential partners and socialise with business people.
So how do you fika? Check your schedule to see if you have time for a break a few hours after work starts or a few hours before work ends. Schedule 30-40 minutes in your calendar. (Invite your loved ones, friends or colleagues to join you!)
Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea or lemonade) and have a selection of cookies or snacks ready when it’s time for fika. Refuse to pick up your phone; instead, use the time to disconnect from screens and be free of responsibilities.
3. Dolce Far Niente (Art of Doing Nothing)
“Dolce far niente” means pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness in Italian.
Most people believe that the leisurely enjoyment of sweet idleness is unattainable because of a romantic ideal of long Italian summers and carefree days. In fact, this seems to be an old idea that no longer applies to modern life in Italy’s cities. However, “dolce far niente” is a philosophy deeply rooted in the Italian psyche and not reserved for the time-rich.
So, what is it like to be in a state of dolce far niente? It’s like sitting in a bar in an Italian village, drinking coffee and watching passers-by. Time slows down, and for a split second you admire life in its simplicity, and all you want to do is smile.
This is undoubtedly a good time to rearrange your energy. It’s also an opportunity to relax and gain some distance in order to see life more clearly in its entirety.
I hope you find these cultural practices amusing and interesting. As I said earlier, meditation can help you if you make it your guided life practice. Meditation is a practice that can help individuals slow down and develop a greater sense of calm and relaxation. Through techniques such as deep breathing, focused attention, and mindfulness, meditation can help reduce stress and promote a more mindful, present-focused way of living. Most importantly, I help people see meditation as a path that brings them closer to their own realization so they can live a life of higher potential.
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Part of this article is credited to www.japan.travel/en/guide/forest-bathing/