What Do the Healthiest Communities Have in Common Besides Exercise and Eating Well?
Why this man quit being emperor to be a cabbage farmer
“If you could see at Salonae the cabbages raised by our hands, you surely would never be tempted by the prospect of power ever again.” — Diocletian
It was this response that the former Roman emperor Diocletian gave, when he was encouraged by his former comrades to reclaim the throne and rule Rome once again.
He was a man who was arguably the most powerful figure on the planet, and then traded that lifestyle to become a cabbage farmer. A rather strange declaration I thought, until I found that everyone is actually the same.
The incredible health benefits of time in nature
It’s not just a trait of the famous and powerful, but I think many of us feel it too. During periods of extreme stress, there is this human draw to not just quiet, but specifically to nature.
There is a reason why many health retreats and recovery programs happen in remote mountain areas or ranches, and a reason why many of us turned to gardening during the coronavirus pandemic. We imagine beaches and mountain houses when daydreaming about retirement, and these images are stronger when we are under a lot of work or school stress. We don’t just want quiet when we’re stressed — we want to see the sky, feel grass, hear rivers, and feel air.
We heal in these spaces.
What is shinrinyoku?
There is a term for this kind of wellness practice in Japanese, and it’s called shinrinyoku (森林浴), or forest bathing. In Japan it can be prescribed by doctors, like you might be prescribed an antidepressant, to help patients cope with high levels of stress, anxiety, or grief.