Stressed? Get your green on… v

Moss on tree rootsI’m taking a breather today and the easy way out of the daily post. I’m going outside to enjoy the weather—which will be cold and possibly blustery. (I’m not saying how long I’ll stay out, just that I will go out.) Clearing stuff out includes clearing my mind by getting away from the computer.

I’m not outdoorsy, in the sense of wearing hiking boots, owning a backpack or possessing extensive knowledge of national parks. But I do appreciate the beauty of nature I’m exposed to every day. Recently, the skies in St. Louis at dusk have been painted in the delicate hues of watercolors. Last night there was a waxing moon in a clear, dark universe.  This morning, there were woodpeckers at the bird feeders.

Turns out there’s a lot of research about our response to nature. Last year, German researchers found that looking at shades of green boosts creativity and motivation. Patterns that mimic the shape of acacia trees are universally appealing, even when we don’t know they have anything to do with trees. Irregular natural patterns that occur in nature can reduce stress by 60 percent. This news could ruin the anti-depressant segment of the pharmaceutical industry.

Check out “Why We Love Beautiful Things,” (http://nyti.ms/Z3gC8h) a column by Lance Hosey in the New York Times, earlier this year. Hosey, author of “The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design,” asks if there is some genetic code buried in our brains that connect us to nature.

After you read Hosey’s column, go outside. Or at least look out the window. It’s refreshing, even in winter.

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