Sometimes I get cranky.
You know those days we all have: the computer crashes, a hefty parking ticket materializes on the windshield, or worse — a family member falls ill or divorce strikes (BTW, divorce is bad for the planet).
What if nature could make you feel better? (I know you're thinking of a time when it has.)
Contact with nature reduces stress, promotes physical and emotional well-being, and has even been shown to boost cognition. People actually think more clearly after a walk in fresh air, because our brains release a happy chemical called serotonin.
Maintaining, protecting or restoring green space for the birds and the bees is important, but living near green spaces encourages people to be physically active, so it's healthier for our species, too. Researchers even found that parks, playing fields and forests greatly narrow health gaps between the rich and poor.
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Nature can be a local green space — a treed boulevard, community garden, or creek running through your neighborhood — or more "official" like a provincial or federal park. In Seven Reasons for a New Nature Movement, Richard Louv says the more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.
(Please finish reading this blog before you log off and go outside.)
And don't underestimate having a view of nature. Researchers, like Roger Ulrich and others, have shown that a view of nature (rather than a brick wall of an adjacent building) from a hospital room's window aids recovery from surgery, leads to less use of health care services among prison inmates, improves work performance in job settings, and increases job satisfaction. (Do you have a poster or picture with nature scenes decorating your cubicle?)
When has time spent outside — could be a special place or a wildlife sighting — saved you?
Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green