The Healing Power of Trees
(c) Rani Iyer

The Healing Power of Trees

Walking under trees is beneficial in many ways. Picture courtesy

Some of my best #friends have been old trees. Growing up in a city in India, I made friends with the giant banyan in the temple. I sat under the tree and simply relaxed listening to the rustle of the leaves. It made marvelous music, subtle and quiet compared to the temple bells. In summer days when the temple closed doors for the afternoon. It was great to #sneak into the quiet and empty #temple, lie under the tree and watch the congregation of creatures on the tree. The loud chatter of the #birds fighting over the #berries and the #squirrels stealing the #fruits from their beaks was exciting to watch.

And as the banyan shed the leaves in summer, I dashed under the tree trying in vain to capture a falling leaf. Even if I was sweating, a prevailing #belief among #students made this a worthwhile activity. We believed anyone who caught a leaf drifting from the tree would have a great future. And even if we did not know what ‘future’ meant, we knew it was something adults talked a lot about. So, it was best to insure this #future in many ways possible.

The fascinating life of trees. Although they support humans, they have their own lives too.

Since I had intense math anxiety, capturing the #leaf seemed to be my only way out. Although I loved the tree, I never managed to capture a floating leaf. Maybe I was not well coordinated to do it. Or I did not know how to anticipate it. It could also be that I gave up too soon. In any case, on a few occasions after chasing the leaves for 2 hours, I settled for a leaf that landed on my bag. If it sat on my bag, it was mine. Right?

During summer #vacation, when I climbed the tamarind tree in the afternoon to harvest the tart pods, my #grandmother would advise me that it was not safe. She was sure that evil spirits lived in the tamarind tree. I could not feel anything remotely #scary about the dear tree. Even the jackfruit tree infested with red ants seemed friendlier than some #humans to me.

Trees are some of the oldest, largest, and longest living things on the planet. By their very presence, trees command our attention and invite our interaction. They are a unique manifestation of life on #Earth. They are permanent and represent life on a massive scale. Trees have been #witnesses to human history and focal points that marked human #progress.

Walking under trees provides more oxygen. Many trees also release resins that make the air in the forest smell #great. The secondary products produced by the trees act as aromatherapy products. They smell great, elevate mood, clear the sinuses, heal wounds, and helps ward off infections. The combination of scent in the air, the absence of #artificial noise, crowds, the gentle call of #birds, and non-focused actions helps people relax deeply. When the limbs, organs, and body relax, it results in lowered blood pressure. People have a creative breakthrough while walking in forests.

Pre-teens reported feeling less #anxious after spending two-days immersed in the forest. Researchers have recorded improved #self-esteem and lowered cortisol effects. The benefits lasted for two weeks. Pre-teens reported feeling #happier and less anxious after immersion in the forest. Other studies have found that the impact of forest bathing or spending time in nature is cumulative.

All over the world as habitation becomes intensely urban, people are experiencing many forms of mental illnesses. The fast-paced life, noise, and excessive reliance on technology in the cities exacerbate the situation. Forest is the place where younger generations can learn more about themselves and reconnect with their inner self.  Without a connection with nature, youngsters fear the forest. The #wilderness may seem dirty, #terrifying, and a thing of little value.

Trees and forests provide numerous benefits for humans. Let us plant trillions of trees and ensure that the Earth is green forever!