How Trees Help Make Us Happier

Mon, March 28, 2016 1:43 PM | Danielle Corral

Last month we wrote a blog about how trees outside a window does more than provide something nice to look at—it helps student learn better.  Now a recent study shows how even looking at pictures of trees and other green spaces make us calmer. Participants of the study were given pictures of either trees and green places or pictures of concrete and buildings after they had completed a strenuous math problem. Researchers then tested the participants’ sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system responds to stress by triggering the fight-or-flight reaction and raises our heart rate and makes us anxious. The second system, the parasympathetic, brings feelings of calmness and well-being.  When participants saw pictures of greenery after the math stressor, their parasympathetic system kicked-in and lowered heart rates, something that failed to happen with the group of participants who viewed pictures of concrete and manmade objects. The study suggests that viewing green spaces, such as trees, can help lower feelings of anxiety and stress and that actually visiting or seeing nature can create even greater feelings of relief and happiness. 

Bottom line--at the very least, set your screen saver to images of trees or, if possible, scoot your desk next to a window.  Then, come get happy by joining us at the second annual Tour des Trees on Saturday, April 9th. This is a FREE (self-guided) bike and walk friendly event where we will be going around Arizona State University’s Tempe Campus and visiting 11 of their magnificent trees.  At each tree a professional arborist will be teaching an important tree topic like proper watering techniques (refer to the flyer below). You may learn a few new facts, but we guarantee that you will feel more relaxed after walking through a tree-shaded campus!

                                                                         (For a map and larger flyer to print, click here).

Last year's Tour des Trees was a great time and we hope to see many of you again this year!

 

Resources:

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/STBlog/3832815

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690962/  (original study)

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/the-picture-of-health/?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/resources/Documents/Events/Tour%20de%20Trees/TourdeTrees_FlyerMap_2016.pdf (map and flyer to print)

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/STBlog/3335872

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