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Try tree hugging – it’s good for you!

tree hugging - photo of 2 little girls holding hands and hugging a tree

What’s the idea?

We could all do with a lot more hugs at the moment, which is tricky with social distancing. The solution – tree hugging!

What’s the story?

Looking after our physical and mental well-being is super important all the time.

But it’s especially important right now when we’re all cooped up, social distancing from friends and family, keeping safe.

My husband, children and I have been going outside every day, walking or cycling in our local woods.

Trees have been shown to be good for us in so many ways.

The improved quality of air is beneficial to nourish the lungs and oxygenate the brain and muscles.

This is the feeling of “blowing away the cobwebs” that a good woodland walk can bring.

We and trees help each other out by replenishing each other’s breath.

This is because trees take in carbon dioxide, which is what we breathe out.

I think that’s pretty darn cool! — a bit of ‘symbiosis‘!

If you want to reap even more benefits from being close to trees then make physical contact with them.

Tree hugging may sound pretty ‘out there’ but don’t knock it till you have tried it.

There are lots of benefits being up close to trees and it’s scientifically proven too.

People should do this because…?

Tree hugging increases levels of hormone oxytocin.

(Oxytocin is responsible for helping you feel calm and for emotional bonding.)

If you hug a tree you will trigger the hormones serotonin and dopamine which make you feel happier.

The colour green lowers systolic blood pressure and calms the central nervous system, so you’ll feel more relaxed.

Trees naturally emit phytoncides or aerosol molecules that we can absorb through our skin or inhale into our bloodstream.

These have lots of benefits.

Some trigger endorphin release, some activate enzymes and bodily systems, and some help re-balance health perceptions and physical wellbeing.

Phytoncides have also been shown to increase NK activity.

These are “natural killer” cells, the true knights in shining armour of our immune system.

And that’s just from a single tree – so being in woodland — that’s brilliant!

How do you do it?

Go and find a tree — in the back garden, down the street, in the local park or nearest woodland.

Put your arms around it and breathe!

Follow your breath like you would in mindful meditation.

Remember your outgoing breath (carbon dioxide) is how this tree sustains its life, and the tree’s outgoing breath (oxygen) is how you sustain your life.

(It’s called photosynthesis.)

How awesome is that?!

Be conscious of the symbiosis — of all the benefits of being this close to a tree.

Be conscious of the connection of all life — be conscious that life is beautiful!

Stuff you may need

  • A tree

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Links to other articles on the web

Forest Service Recommends Hugging Trees While You Can’t Hug Others

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-love-a-tree-day-may-16/

https://www.treehugger.com/health/iceland-recommends-hugging-trees-instead-people.html

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/a-beginners-guide-to-forest-bathing

Links to other videos on the web

Links to books

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