Theres just something about being in nature the fresh air, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the wind blowing through your hair, the sound of birds chirping call it Mother Natures symphony in surround sound. Before you know it, you start breathing a little deeper and your heart beats in rhythm with the melody of nature.
This sense of calm is not just in your mind. Science has proven that being in open spaces, spending time among the trees and the green grass, improves your mindset. In other words seeing green is good.
In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine researchers from Scotland tracked the brain activity of people as they walked for 25 minutes in an urban shopping area, a busy commercial district, and green spaces. What they found may not be surprising but that makes it no less encouraging. When the study subjects walked through the green area, their level of frustration, engagement and arousal dropped and their levels of meditation went up.
Clearly a drop in the level of frustration is a good thing. As for levels of engagement and arousal being reduced, well, that basically means your brain is able to be active but it doesnt need to work so hard to be effective. When your brain is taxed less, you dont experience the same degree of fatigue as when engagement and arousal are higher.
A similar study out of Scotland looked at cortisol levels as a measurement of stress in people when they were in green spaces. These researchers discovered that nature has a biological effect and a good one at that. The more green space the study participants enjoyed, the lower their cortisol levels an indication that nature reduces stress.
So, what is it about trees that have this positive effect on the mind?
Heres a list of just a few of the many reasons trees bring about a sense of peace and calm:
The smell A tree, with its flowers, leaves, bark and more can provide pleasant smells that calm the mind
The colors Trees provide us with color from their flowers and fruit and they provide interesting shapes to enjoy
The view Trees have a way of blocking out unattractive views and softening the sometimes harsh outline of urban sprawl
The privacy Trees can separate and define space and create a sense of privacy, and, along with it, a sense of relaxation.
The sounds and the quiet Trees can absorb the sounds of traffic and create a place of serenity.
In addition, trees may help reduce the pollutants in the air which, in turn, reduces the risk of asthma attacks for people who are susceptible.
These study findings may go far in helping city planners realize the importance of open spaces in urban areas. But, wherever you are, certainly you can and should find time in your day to literally stop and smell the roses or, in this case, the trees.