What is “star bathing”? And how to do it

The benefits we can reap from nature doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Mindful stargazing, or star bathing, is a powerful way to reduce stress and spice up your creativity.

What is “star bathing”? And how to do it
The night sky has fascinated the human race for millennia. Mapping out constellations, exploring space and the unknown depths of the galaxy give us a sense of awe, that the world is bigger than just us. Stars and astrology have also had a resurgence for dinner table conversation and social media - “Sorry I’m late…I’m a Leo”. But outside of constellations and planet positions giving us our personality traits, star gazing can have huge benefits for our wellbeing - even if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at.

What is “star bathing”?

Akin to forest bathing, “star bathing” is the action for stargazing in its simplest form. Looking up at the stars triggers the feeling of awe (astonishment and fascination when you see something vast and beautiful such as mountains or a sunset) which has been widely connected to improved mental and physical health. That includes less stressmore happiness and more creativity.
Star bathing, or mindful stargazing, doesn’t require any knowledge of constellations and astronomy. In fact, not knowing what you’re looking like makes it an easier activity for mindfulness. Stargazing requires effortless attention, also called soft fascination, where you can observe something without actively thinking.
Due to light pollution making the night sky a little harder to see in large cities, the benefits of stargazing has given rise to ‘dark sky tourism’. This is where people are actively seeking darker skies to reap the benefits of stargazing as a form of meditation and wellbeing.
Night Sky at Arwen cabin in Llangollen, North Wales
Night Sky at Arwen cabin in Llangollen, North Wales

Benefits of stargazing

Similar to Skychology, star bathing (or mindful stargazing) has copious benefits for your mental and physical health. Stars are billions of years old, and knowing that generations of humans have looked at the same stars that are millions of miles away creates a feeling of awe and grandiose which has benefits, including
  • Reduces stress Gazing at the expanse of the night sky can have a calming effect, reducing stress hormones and promoting feelings of peace.
  • Improves sleep Exposure to darkness can regulate sleep patterns, leading to a better night's rest.
  • Mindfulness boost Focusing on the vastness of the universe puts your daily worries in perspective and fosters a sense of awe and wonder.
  • Boosts creativity Letting your mind wander can boost your brain creativity. Nature and vast views promote feelings of awe which have been linked to boosted creativity.
  • Naturally tech-free You need to let your eyes adjust which means you naturally put away your phone as artificial light interferes with your focus. Plus, photos just don’t look as great as the real life show.
  • Free and easily accessible You don’t need to pay a penny to look at the sky as it’s right outside your window.

5 stargazing tips for beginners

Stargazing can appear complicated, with complicated maps and different constellations to learn. But for mindfulness, you don’t need to know much. Here’s 5 top tips on how to star bathe or stargaze for mindfulness.
  1. Choose a spot away from artificial light Choose a location away from light pollution. National parks or rural areas often provide the perfect backdrop for star bathing. If you’re in the or at home, switch off bright lights inside that might contribute to light pollution.
  1. Let your eyes adjust for 15 mins Allow 15-20 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the darkness, enhancing your ability to see more stars.
  1. Go digital-free Leave behind electronic devices to fully immerse in the experience and prevent artificial light from disrupting your night vision.
  1. Get comfortable Bring along a blanket or a reclining chair. Dress warmly to stay cosy during your celestial contemplation.
  1. Let your mind wander Practice deep breathing, focusing on the expanse above. If a thought pops in your mind, refocus on the sky and let your mind and eyes meander the cosmos.
Night sky at Gruff in West Sussex
Night sky at Gruff in West Sussex

Top Locations for Stargazing in the UK

With our towns and cities become increasingly bigger and brighter with artificial light, it can be harder to get the full experience of the night’s sky.
  1. South Downs National Park Home to an International Dark Sky Reserve and just 50 miles from London. Our cabins such as Gruff, Basil, Roland and Olive are great stargazing spots.
  1. Galloway Forest Park, Scotland As the UK's first Dark Sky Park, it offers stunning views of the Milky Way and numerous stars.
  1. Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales With its own Dark Sky Reserve, the park's skies are meticulously protected for unparalleled stargazing. Our closest cabins Marley and Arwen have incredible night sky views.
  1. Kielder Water & Forest Park, England Known for its dark skies and hosting a dedicated observatory, it's a haven for astronomers and casual star gazers alike.
  1. Exmoor National Park, England One of the best areas in the UK for stargazing as there is very little artificial light over the moor.
Find the best stargazing spot near you HERE.
So, ditch the screens, grab a blanket, and head out for a dose of star bathing. You might just discover the universe holds the key to inner peace, right above your head.

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