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Psychological Effects 

Shinrin-yoku, immersing yourself in nature using your senses, is receiving more attention internationally. Although most of the existing studies have focused on physical health, this systematic review and meta-analysis examined the mental health impacts of shinrin-yoku, using the PRISMA guidelines (PROSPERO registry: BLINDED). All studies were conducted in Asia and Europe and used a variety of different approaches to bathing (e.g., breathing, walking, yoga). While noting the need for more rigorous research and extensive follow-up evaluations, the findings indicate that shinrin-yoku may be effective in reducing short-term mental health symptoms, especially anxiety.  

There are a number of theories that explain the health benefits of exposure to nature. Kaplan's attention restoration theory states that spending time in nature restores our concentration through the practice of effortless attention (Kaplan and Kaplan  1989  ). The stress reduction theory states that being in a non-threatening natural environment reduces stress and improves relevant physiological functions such as heart rate and blood pressure (Ulrich et al.  1991  ). More recent studies have explored the mechanism of shinrin-yoku and found that its benefits are in agreement with Gilbert's affect regulation model (  2014  ) (Richardson  2016  ). Although nature's benefits for affect regulation are often overlooked (Korpella et al., 2018), it is essential for health and well-being (Gross  2013  ). Bathing in the forest and connecting with nature can help us regulate our emotions, through soothing and calming (i.e. the parasympathetic system), instead of fear, anxiety and drive (i.e. the sympathetic system) (Richardson et al.  2016  ).

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