Delivering Vitamin G
Growing up, most people are taught about the holistic health benefits of eating greens. But what about living and working amongst greens? Nature that is, not broccoli and spinach.
There is significant evidence that illustrates the far-reaching benefits of being surrounded by and connected to natural elements, with access to green space proven a vital component to sustaining balanced physical, psychological and social well-being.
Universally, humans have a biophilic response to plants, meaning we are naturally pre-dispositioned to positively respond to the presence of nature. Having evolved with and within the natural environment, this connection to nature has been hard-wired into our DNA.
However, with our modern-day lives increasingly spent indoors, living and working in high density cities with growing populations, there are unfortunately limited opportunities for the integration of sustainable and meaningful green spaces.
In fact, recent studies have indicated that approximately two-thirds of the world’s population is now being deprived of regular access to green space. So what impact is this having on our emotional, mental, and social well-being?
- Social connections
A recent landmark study conducted in the US showed that a lack of social connection is a greater detriment to our health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. Green spaces facilitate the growth of valuable social connections and contribute to social gathering opportunities. Parks of all kinds have a way of bringing people together, whether that be to walk the dog, picnic with family or friends, and even build new social connections through community interaction and events.
- Recreation opportunities
Green spaces also offer valuable physical and passive recreational opportunities for everything from social sports to yoga, facilitating opportunities to sustain an active, balanced lifestyle.
- Mental health
Having access to green space lowers stress and blood pressure levels, reduces feelings of discomfort and anxiety, reduces effects of sickness, improves recovery times from illness, and provides an overall greater sense of calm and wellbeing.
- Work smarter
Green work environments have also been proven to nurture higher cognitive function. Recent studies show cognitive performance can be improved by up to 61% after working in ‘green’ environments when compared to traditional ‘non-green’ work environments. Research has also shown that exposure to nature can significantly improve concentration, productivity and mental alertness, making plants excellent in educational environments and workplaces.
There is no doubt that being connected to nature has a positive effect on the way we feel and think. Investing in landscape architecture to create beautiful, accessible and sustainable green spaces in our cities will help ensure a healthy environment for the places we, and our children, will live and work.
"We are naturally pre-dispositioned to positively respond to the presence of nature."