Dr. Noelle Nelson

DESTRESS WITH A GREEN BREAK

Spring! Such a glorious time of year. Trees sprouting white and pink blossoms, tender new green leaves on bushes and plants, more sunlight, less gray. How delightful! If only one had time to get out there and enjoy it more. You know, as in away from your hunched-over-the-computer mode, using your legs to walk briskly, your nose to breathe clean air.

Sigh. Not likely. And yet, just a little dose of nature has surprising benefits. We’ve known for quite a while that nature rejuvenates, but recent research has taken our understanding much further. Not only does time spent in nature reduce stress and anxiety, but it also benefits cognitive functioning. Namely, the workings of our minds, especially in terms of gaining knowledge and understanding,  perception, memory, ability to reason, judgment, imagination and problem-solving. All that from spending just a little time around trees and plants.

Well, how nice you think—especially if you actually have spare time and ready access to a park or forest or woods or whatever.

Green Destressing Techniques

Research shows that even when the subjects simply looked at an image of greenery on a roof for 40 seconds (yes, you read that correctly, 40 seconds) they did better on a test than when they looked for the same time at a concrete roof.

Looking at an image of greenery on a roof might not be your idea of a nature break, but what about that indoor house plant on your desk? Or in your living room? What if you spent a few moments really looking at that plant, appreciating the unfurling of its new leaves, the greenness of its green, how very vibrant it is, just living its plant life? Or maybe step outside for a minute to enjoy the spring air and colors? Could this attention to something of nature enhance your mood and thinking?

Science says yes. It’s worth giving it a go. I’ve found it to be, at the very least, an easy stress reducer with zero downside. As an added benefit, the little time you take to green yourself into less stress means that you’ll be more invigorated for your next task.

Hmm. Maybe getting back to that computer won’t be so painful after all.

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