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The Practice Of Forest Bathing Is Proven To Improve Your Health

The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce…

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The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.

Forest bathing, basically just being in the presence of trees, became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982 when the forestry ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoku and promoted topiary as therapy. Nature appreciation, picnicking en masse under the cherry blossoms, is a national pastime in Japan, so forest bathing quickly took. The environment’s wisdom has long been evident to the culture. The way forest bathing works is this: Just be with trees. No hiking, no counting steps on a Fitbit. You can sit or meander, but the point is to relax rather than accomplish anything.

From 2004 to 2012, Japanese officials spent about $4 million dollars studying the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing, designating 48 therapy trails based on the results. Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, measured the activity of human natural killer cells in the immune system before and after exposure to the woods. These cells provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells and respond to tumor formation, and are associated with immune system health and cancer prevention. In a 2009 study Li’s subjects showed significant increases in NK cell activity in the week after a forest visit, and positive effects lasted a month following each weekend in the woods. This is due to various essential oils, generally called phytoncide, found in wood and plants, which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better, inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function.

Experiments on forest bathing conducted by the Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences in Japan’s Chiba University measured its physiological effects on 280 subjects in their early 20s. The team measured the subjects’ salivary cortisol (which increases with stress), blood pressure, pulse rate, and heart rate variability during a day in the city and compared those to the same biometrics taken during a day with a 30-minute forest visit. The study concluded that forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments. In other words, being in nature made subjects, physiologically, less amped. The parasympathetic nerve system controls the body’s rest-and-digest system while the sympathetic nerve system governs fight-or-flight responses. Subjects were more rested and less inclined to stress after a forest bath.

Trees soothe the spirit too. A study on the psychological effects of forest bathing surveyed 498 healthy volunteers, twice in a forest and twice in control environments. The subjects showed significantly reduced hostility and depression scores, coupled with increased liveliness, after exposure to trees. Accordingly, forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes. City dwellers can benefit from the effects of trees with just a visit to the park. Brief exposure to greenery in urban environments can relieve stress levels, and experts have recommended “doses of nature” as part of treatment of attention disorders in children. What all of this evidence suggests is we don’t seem to need a lot of exposure to gain from nature, but regular contact appears to improve our immune system function and our wellbeing.

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5 Lifestyle Changes You Should Do in 2020

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Doing various lifestyle changes can be difficult especially when you attempt to initiate huge modifications that merely remain unfulfilled over time. Experts assert that planning small changes is more practical and achievable in real life.

Drink more water

The regular intake of water provides a multitude of benefits. Water helps reduce the frequency of migraines; it helps slow down aging; it aids in digestion; it assists in weight loss, among others. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water each day provides you with more energy, enabling you to manage the daily grind.

Go for daily walks

We all know that exercise helps keep us healthy, as well. However, not everyone has the time—or inclination—to start a rigorous and time-consuming exercise routine. Nonetheless, you can still keep yourself healthy by taking daily walks. You can start by taking a walk after you get up from bed each day and then do another round when you get home from work in the afternoon. If you are working from home, take several breaks and walk in your front yard or garden for a few minutes each time.

Begin writing a gratitude journal

Stress gets accumulated due to the many upheavals of daily life. There is a lot to complain about and work can become too stressful at times. You should know, though, that stress and worry can be debilitating to your health. Starting a gratitude diary allows you to destress yourself, realize how blessed you are, and allow catharsis to unfold.

Do a few minutes of reflection and meditation

Because you tend to be so busy each day, you forget to find time to reassess all the things that you are already blessed with. Worries are everyday facts of living. However, you do not have to dwell on them all the time. Find a few minutes to reflect upon the good things in life. Stay still and silent for a bit. Listen to the birds and smell some flowers if you can.

Ask for help when you need it

The funny thing about most people is that it is considered a crime to ask help from others. Most people think that admitting the need for help is tantamount to admitting weakness—a terrible blunder for one’s dignity. However, it is essential to remember that no one’s perfect and that a lot of us need assistance from time to time. Learning to lower yourself and admit the need for aid ultimately lightens your soul—and even helps you learn the virtue of humility.

In essence

It is necessary to plan some changes in your life. These changes can help lighten your everyday burden and eventually welcome more positivity in the different aspects of your existence. However, you should start with doing small modifications. Keeping them small allows you to easily fulfill them because big goals tend to be too difficult especially when you’re too busy trying to keep up with the daily hustle and bustle. Also, laugh a little. Accept your frailty and be at peace with the world.    

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8 Ways of Dealing with People You Don’t Like

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It always helps to note that no one in this world is perfect, according to the author of “A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles to Success,” Deep Patel. That means that everyone, including you, is filled with various weaknesses and strengths that need to be considered when attempting to understand someone else.

Patel highlights several tips for dealing with people you don’t like. He asserts that it is essential for everyone to learn—and remember—these tips, especially since the failure to do so may only mean limiting oneself in the process.

Accept that you cannot deal with everyone

Patel says that it is normal not to like everyone. Each person has his own personality. Some may have a dominant personality, and others may have a timid one. However, this does not mean that you are a “bad person,” which does not mean that the other person is one.

Attempt to find positivity in the other’s words

It is always essential to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Not everyone is out to sabotage you, and you aren’t always about to hurt anyone, too. Hence, even when someone else says something hurtful, it may not be meant that way for the other person. Learning to pick through the other’s words of the other person may be helpful, as well.

Stay in touch with your emotions

Patel also mentions that our emotions play a significant role in understanding the people around us. Our feelings can affect how we view others. As they say, when you are in a bad mood, you also tend to see the world as ugly. In contrast, feeling good tends to make us see the world in a more benevolent light.

Try not to take things personally, and put some space

Taking things personally all the time can also hinder understanding. Emotions play a massive part in analysis. Staying objective lets us see the bigger picture and permit empathy to arise. Put some space between you and the person you don’t like, as well. This will further allow you to look at things more objectively.

Calmly express how you feel and find a referee

When you’re about to burst, try to relax yourself first. Spontaneity can be good at times, although saying what you feel when you feel so may further damage communication. Try to soften your words and say things in a quiet, relaxed voice. You can also find a mediator to help you communicate your thoughts better.

Choose your battles

Remember also that not all battles are worth your time. As they say, try not to go down to the other’s level. If you can still ignore them, then you are free to do so.

Never be defensive

Defensiveness means you are on your way to the losing end. It is always best to state facts and avoid having to explain everything you say. As long as you aren’t doing anything wrong, there shouldn’t be a reason for you to explain yourself to anyone.

You are in control of your own happiness

In the end, you are the one in control of yourself—and your own happiness. Never let anyone dictate how you act or feel. When you let others irk you to no end, you are merely allowing them to control you.

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Black Designers Celebrated During the Milan Fashion Week

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Five designers were part of the Black Lives Matter campaign in the Italian fashion group of the event. A name inspired by the international movement trending worldwide as a form of protest against racial injustice. However, due to the pandemic, the event was one of the first fashion week’s virtual shows. The digital event named We are made in Italy was filmed at Milan’s grand Palazzo Clerici and hosted the summer/spring 2021 collections of Joy Meribel, Karim Daoudi, Mokudu Fall, Claudia Gisele Ntsama, and Fabiola Manirakiza. As Manirakiza was initially from Burundi, Mokodu Fall and Claudia Giselle Ntsama grew up with a family of tailors from Cameroon. At the same time, Karim Daoudi was born in Morocco, and Joy Meribel grew up in Nigeria. The five designers were mentored by the only black member of the Italian fashion council, Stella Jean. The Italian-Haitian was also campaigning against racism in the industry. According to Jean, Made in Italy used to represent itself around the world as a white concept. However, now it is no longer like this as the new Italy doesn’t want to be part of it.

Going against the grain

According to the Italian high fashion black designers, they believe that it is essential to show the world that Made in Italy doesn’t correspond to any particular color.  They want to abolish the prejudice of being Italian means being white. They claim that this world we live in is a world that only a few know of its existence, and even fewer are able to enjoy it. 

However, since the show was dedicated to black Italian designers of Milan’s fashion week for the first time, it’s debut was the marking point in the official calendar. A strong move of the organizers in the hope of highlighting the lack of diversity in the industry. 

According to Stella Jean, it is quite depressing to think that most Italian brands enjoyed by worldwide attention have a mass amount of influence on billions of people who don’t even realize that an entire generation in Italy is asking for a voice and space.

Jean demands that the sector governing body support black designers and have called out Italian fashion houses to confront racism.

Making a permanent mark

Some may even say that predominantly, Italy has shown blindness to horrifying racing hiding underneath its skin. 

Jean claims that it is unfair that some people remain invisible. Italian brands tend to pretend not to see them and give most of their attention in an inappropriate way towards the Black Lives Matter movements outside of Italy. Instead, they would focus on things happening in the United States while ignoring things happening in their own country. She believes that Italy has a serious racial problem, and if we don’t open the wound now to heal it, it will never heal. 

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