Mapping Happiness: New Study Says Green Color A Boon For Mental & Physical Health

Many people view the color green as an emotionally positive color embodying happiness, affection, growth, and prosperity. There is now increasing evidence that people with more exposure to nature’s favorite color tend to lead happier lives than those who are not.

Recent studies have conclusively demonstrated that people who spend more time in natural and open green spaces tend to experience reduce amounts of stress and enhanced positivity.

Until recently, not too many studies had convincingly determined the precise link between green exposure and positive behavior. However, a California-based study conducted last year investigated the impact of nature-experience on affect and cognition by observing 60 participants in a natural versus urban setting. It concluded that exposure to nature-rich as opposed to a restricted urban environment revealed decreased levels of anxiety and negative responses and highly positive cognitive benefits including better memory performances.

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According to researchers, such findings offer compelling observations about the enormous impact of nature experiences on cognition and enhance the scope for further research on the patterns underlying these influences. More recently, an Amsterdam-based study exploring human physiological stress responses to brief visual exposure to “pictures” of urban green spaces compared to built spaces offered compelling insights. The findings provided evidence for greater cognitive response in participants who viewed green scenes in the first part of the experiment as compared to participants who viewed built scenes.

The study published in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in December of last year concluded the following

“This study indicates that five minutes of viewing urban green space can support recovery from stress as shown in enhanced parasympathetic activity. These findings strengthen and deepen the growing evidence-base for health benefits of green space in the living environment.”

Many people today live in and around a predominantly urban environment and are exposed to far less green spaces compared to earlier societies where a natural exposure to them was far more frequent. There is convincing evidence that urbanites in more modern times have been known to experience a much enhanced risk for anxiety-related disorders, chronic depression, and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers.

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According to University of Glasgow researcher Richard J. Mitchell, access to green spaces could reduce inequality in mental well-being by nearly 50 percent.

“You perceive nature with your senses. Your brain processes those sensory experiences and triggers physiological responses. We’re faced with stressful, noisy environments. When we encounter an environment that is more in keeping with our evolution, that we might innately perceive as more supportive, our bodies and minds react favourably; we literally relax”

Color symbolizes many aspects of our being and characterizes our inner as well as outer universe. Experiencing color in life is aesthetically gratifying with enormous long-lasting benefits. In ancient cultures, color was viewed as an integral aspect of existence depicting many elements of life. For instance, for the ancient Egyptians, the color green was associated with vegetation and new life. To do “green things” symbolized beneficial, life-producing behavior.

The lasting merits of nature’s color green can hardly ever be understated. For instance, a growing body of research has concluded that green can actually enhance reading ability in students and that people with a green work ambiance have been known to experience fewer stomach aches. Green is also thought to relieve stress and accelerate the healing process.

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According to recent research, green actually contributes to the feel-good benefits of outdoor exercise and often produces more psychological benefits than merely working out indoors does. Furthermore, adding “green exercise” is known to boost mood, self-esteem, motivation, confidence, and enjoyment. Some experts believe the benefits of exercising outdoors has more to do with the color itself than with just being surrounded by nature.

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