How to Get Healthier, Happier With Mother Nature's Help

happy and healthy

If you're prone to sickness or depression, there's an easy and affordable solution. And it might surprise you: trees.

"According to a new book titled 'Forest Bathing' that's out in April … forests don't just affect us mentally, they affect us physically as well," reports contributor Jessica Stillman. "Trees are basically a wonder drug, argues the author, Qing Li."

According to Li -- a devotee of the Japanese practice known as "forest bathing" -- the healing powers of nature aren't mystical, but scientific.

"Trees release antimicrobial essential oils that can produce slightly narcotic effects, and sometimes even act as a mild antidepressant," Stillman reports. "Studies show spending time among trees boosts the number of 'killer cells' in the immune system that are key to beating infections and fighting cancer."

Spending time in forests even reduces blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The best part of nature's curative powers? Even small doses can have big benefits.

"Weeks of forest bathing would be fantastic. But four hours is also great, and two hours will more than do," reports Stillman, who quotes an article about forest bathing from the website Quartz. "In fact, [Li] thinks we can benefit from spending just a few minutes watching a single tree."

So, next time you're feeling ill or off, don't pop a pill. Go outside.

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