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Forest Bathing – Quest For Health and Happiness

Forest Bathing Book Cover - the spine is the trunk

I’m still really into forest bathing, probably because I haven’t had a chance to go hiking yet. And I do have a thing about book covers – this one is amazing! I’ve been even more aware of book cover designs since I saw this TED Talk. But, did I really need to read a second book on forest bathing, you ask? Yes!

There are some overlaps between Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, by Dr. Qing Li, and Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing, by Yoshifumi Miyazaki, of course. But I also found some additional tips on how to make the most of your DIY forest bathing!

Raising Children the Scandinavian Way

Raising Children the Scandinavian Way

Despite not having any children, or even any nieces, nephews, godchildren, or responsibilities for small people of any kind, I enjoy reading books on raising children. I found this book too late for my Scandinavian month, but just in time for my exploration of a simpler, more natural life. Combine the two, and we have ourselves a book on raising children the Scandinavian way.

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather is by Linda Åkeson McGurk, a Swedish-born mother of two in Indiana. She recounts the contrast of raising two daughters in the US, and when they had to move back to Sweden for 6 months, illustrating the contrasts in cultural attitudes when it comes to raising children.

How to Consume Less – A Life Less Throwaway

How to Consume Less

As a society, we’ve been driven to consume more, and more frequently. Fashions used to change once a season, or twice a year, but now fast fashion retailers are continually churning out new styles and getting rid of old styles. Cars are only made to drive a number of years before we’re expected to upgrade. Cell phones barely last long enough for the release of the next model. Retail therapy, and being a shopaholic, are now badges of honor. Not only is this consumption-centric model hurting our wallets, it’s also devastating for the planet we live on. How do we consume less? How do we live a more sustainable life?

Tara Button hopes to help with that. She started a website called “Buy Me Once,” that find brands that make sustainable, high-quality, and long-lasting products, to encourage people to buy things that can be inherited through the generations. Her book, A Life Less Throwaway, is full of tips and steps to stop our mindless consumption and to build a home and life that truly reflects who we are.

Ikigai: The Japanese Meaning of Life

Awakening Your Ikigai

I’m on somewhat of a Japanese roll (not a sushi pun – though sushi sounds good) right now. It’s probably because I’m just starting to plan my trip next summer – yes, I’m 14 months ahead of schedule but there are A LOT of things I need to take care of, so planning helps. So after learn to embrace our imperfections, and to recharge in nature, let’s tackle ikigai, the meaning of life.

Ikigai literally means just that – iki (to live) gai (reason). I feel like I’ve been searching for a raison d’être my whole life; sometimes I’m not sure I’ll ever find it. But ikigai is a different approach to what I’ve considered the meaning of life. It’s not about this grandiose passion that changes the world. It can be applied to anything, big or small. Success is not necessarily a component, though ikigai can lead to great success.

What it ultimately is is a value to live by, a purpose to keep you going, a personal standard to which you hold yourself and live accordingly.

Shinrin Yoku – The Art of Forest Bathing

Forest Bathing - Shinrin Yoku

Forest bathing, or shinrin yoku, is “the Japanese practice of seeking a deep and meditative connection with nature,” and was mentioned briefly by Candice Kumai in Kintsugi Wellness. It seemed like a fascinating concept, and definitely something I’d be interested in, so when I saw this book, I had to pick it up.

Shinrin Yoku, by Yoshifumi Miyazaki, delves into the scientific research behind forest therapy (what the media has been, and therefore what we are, calling forest bathing). The author has been a forest researcher for many years, and has conducted studies with control groups and groups exposed to forest therapy. His studies show that there are physiological benefits of forest bathing.