It’s no secret that living in today’s modern world means being busy. From working all day to taking care of children or other responsibilities after work, there isn’t as much time to take care of ourselves.
While you may be familiar with the most common ways in which Americans try to de-stress after a long day, other cultures and countries have rituals you may not have heard of, but which can be equally beneficial.
From laughter yoga in India to ‘forest bathing’ in Japan, Shari’s Berries compiled a list of 12 happiness and wellness practices around the world. Take a look at some of the most unique practices below and perhaps try some out for yourself!
India: Laughter Yoga
While you’ve no doubt heard of yoga, how about laughter yoga? According to Laughter Yoga University, the practice was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from India. The idea is simple enough: breathing exercises are combined with forced laughter.
If you’ve ever felt better after having a good laugh, you know how beneficial laughter can be when it comes to boosting your mood. If you’re not into forcing it, however, try instead to watch a funny movie, attend a comedy show or just hang out with people who make you laugh.
Japan: Shinrin Yoku
In Japan, Shinrin Yoku, or “forest bathing,” is a preventative health care method based upon the belief that there are health benefits that can come from living in the forest. It’s believed that spending time outdoors not only reduces stress and improves your mood, but also boosts the immune system and deepens friendships.
This one is pretty easy to practice — just head outside! You don’t have to live near a forest. Just head to the woods or a local garden. If neither of those work, try your backyard or at least go for a walk.
“Ubuntu” is an African word meaning “so much,” and is used to describe a way of life in which you put others before yourself. It comes from the knowledge that we depend on others to survive, and highlights the traits of sharing, fairness, hospitality, caring and truthfulness.
Have you ever done something nice for someone and it ended up making your day better? That’s right. Practicing ubuntu is easy — just focus on how you treat others. Embrace your friends and family and be thankful for the people who support you.
In Norway, the practice of friluftsliv simply means “free air life.” In other words, spending some time outdoors and in nature. Friluftsliv is similar to Japan’s forest bathing in that it suggests exploring and appreciating nature.
Aside from talking walks or heading to the forest, another way to practice is to take a camping trip. Shari’s Berries suggests taking note of things at your campsite that are different from the things in your everyday life. As always, be respectful of your surroundings and leave the space the way it was when you arrived.
For more information — and to see all 12 health and wellness practices from around the world — take a look at the Shari’s Berries’ infographic below or visit their website. Have you tried any of the wellness practices on this list?