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Forest Bathing for Mindfulness & Well-Being

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In Japan, there is a practice called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means "forest," and yoku means "bath." So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the
forest environment or experiencing the forest through our senses.

While Japan is credited with the term shinrin-yoku, the concept at the heart of the practice is not new. Many cultures have long acknowledged the importance of the natural world to human health.

Forest bathing can be simplified as being in and connecting with nature through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. We know how good we feel when we spend time in nature. How it can ground, calm, energize, and uplift us. The fresh, clean air, the richness of colors, and the awareness of being part of something bigger than ourselves are just a few of the benefits we can experience.

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Using affirmations to shift from self-judgment to self-compassion

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How do you talk to yourself? Really think about this. 

Take a regular morning routine, such as getting ready for work, and think about what you say to yourself. As you check the mirror before stepping out of your home, what do you say? If it's something like, "You look fabulous!" you're probably not suffering too much from self-judgment. But it's more likely that you say something like, "I look so fat" or "Great, bags under my eyes again." As your day progresses, what's the self-talk? When you make a mistake at work, is your response compassionate or judgmental? Do you say things like "I'm such an idiot," or other negative descriptors?

It's important to point out that most people are very self-critical and at the same time, totally unaware of how damaging this is. Listen to your own self-talk and then picture yourself talking to a friend that way. The odds are, you would never speak to someone else as harshly as you speak to yourself.

Let's consider some strategies for reducing self judgement.

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6 strategies for cultivating happiness

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The sound of birds singing on a sunny morning. A soft, early morning breeze is floating through the curtains. The sunrise. A bee is happily moving from flower to flower. A dog is lazily lying in the sun and quietly observing you, as you sip your tea...

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