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Jun 19, 2019

Why a Walk in the Woods Cures the Blues

Chris Morgan during a forest bathing session at IslandWood, a learning center on Bainbridge Island. (Photo: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer)
Chris Morgan during a forest bathing session at IslandWood, a learning center on Bainbridge Island.

About six years ago, ecologist Chris Morgan was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room when he picked up a copy of Outside and read the cover story, “Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning." The article, written by Florence Williams, explored the scientific basis for something that Morgan had intuitively felt all his life: being in nature is inherently healing and leaves us feeling more alert, alive, and content. Ever since, he wanted to have his own guided nature experience. For this second installment of our Nature Cure series, Morgan shares a story from his new podcast The Wild, in which he goes forest bathing in the Pacific Northwest, then asks Williams, What happened to me out there?

Podcast Transcript

Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of episodes of the Outside Podcast are created with a mix of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain some grammatical errors or slight deviations from the audio.

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EPISODE BEGINS 

Outside Podcast Theme: From Outside Magazine and PRX, these are Dispatches, stories from our writers in the field.

Peter Frick-Wright: In our first episode of this series that we're calling the Nature Cure, we heard from Digital Minimalism author Cal Newport about why we need to rebuild our relationship with technology and learn to put down our phones, pull out our earbuds and listen to the birds. Newport put a spotlight on the downside of our always on modern lifestyles and proposed a more thoughtful way that we can all move forward. Basically when you're bored, find something else to do besides looking at your phone. 

In this episode we're taking things a step further, looking at what actually happens when you immerse yourself in nature. And to do that, I want to introduce you to a new podcast called The Wild. It's hosted by ecologist Chris Morgan and about six years ago, Morgan was sitting in a doctor's waiting room and a copy of Outside December, 2012 issue was on the table. 

Morgan picked it up and began to read the cover story, “Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning.” The article was written by Florence Williams and it explored the scientific basis for something Morgan had felt intuitively all his life -- that being in nature is inherently healing and leaves us feeling more alert, alive, and content. The article fascinated him so much that after his appointment, Morgan sat back down in the waiting room and spent another 45 minutes finishing it. What he read stuck with him and ever since he's wanting to have his own guided nature therapy session and also to sit down with Florence to talk about what really happens to us when we venture deep into green spaces. Recently he did both and so today we bring you a walk in the woods, an episode from The Wild Podcast in which Chris goes forest bathing in the Pacific Northwest. Then talks to Florence Williams and asks her what happened to me out there. Here's Chris.

[Listen to The Wild with Chris Morgan here: https://www.kuow.org/stories/the-wild-episode-8]

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OUTRO

Frick-Wright: That's Chris Morgan, host of the new podcast The Wild from KUOW in Seattle. This episode was produced by Matt Martin and edited by Jim Gates. Brendan Sweeney's The Wild’s executive producer. Fact checking by April Craig. Engineering by David Brown. 

The Outside Podcast team is Robbie Carver, Michael Roberts, and me, Peter Frick-Wright.

This episode was brought to you by Adidas and the Terrex free hiker, designed for through hiking the Pacific crest trail, but stylish enough to wear around town. It's also the perfect shoe for forest bathing. 

The Outside Podcast is a production of Outside Magazine and PRX. 

We'll be back next week.

The Outside Podcast

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.