The science of green: why nature’s color boosts well-being

The prospect of well-being guaranteed by a flourishing and luxuriant environment unconsciously influences our psychophysical well-being: it is the so-called "Greenery Hypothesis"

Scientists have recently unveiled a groundbreaking theory on why the color green has a positive impact on our well-being. Numerous studies have shown that being outdoors or living close to green spaces can have incredible benefits on mental health. However, a new study published in the British Ecological Society journal proposes a novel theory known as the “Greenery hypothesis“, suggesting our need for greenery is deeply rooted in evolution.

Throughout history, humans have always benefited from contact with nature, seeking this connection even in urban settings. Various forms of natural installations have been utilized since the dawn of urban settlements to beautify private and community spaces and enhance citizen well-being.

Gardens are an architectural component present in all cultures, and indoor plant cultivation is a popular hobby worldwide. In this new study, researchers from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science explain the strong human connection to lush nature and demonstrate how drought and environmental degradation can worsen our psychological health.

The study

According to Japanese researchers, when vegetation disappears during drought periods, it triggers a signal of environmental degradation in humans. This can lead to negative psychological responses and even feelings of depression. Conversely, the restoration of lush, flourishing greenery triggers a positive mental response.

@British Ecological Society

But why does this connection between greenery and well-being exist? The researchers believe these psychophysiological responses were crucial for human survival during the environmental changes our ancestors faced. Essentially, a flourishing environment ensured higher survival chances (access to water and food, a milder climate) and the psychological well-being felt encouraged the community to settle in that location. On the other hand, an arid and drought-stricken area did not only offer poor survival chances for the community but also had negative effects on its inhabitants from a psychological standpoint.

In modern urban societies, where access to vegetation is limited, this ancestral psychological legacy can have negative effects, such as increased stress and depression. This study is the first to provide a historical explanation of how humans psychologically respond to exposure to the natural environment.

In other words, the ongoing loss of green spaces, especially in urban environments, due to the climate crisis, reckless urbanization, and extreme weather events, could have serious effects on human health and well-being. These findings could lead to interesting developments not only in the fields of psychology and psychiatry but also in urban planning and biodiversity conservation.

Source:  British Ecological Society

Condividi su Whatsapp Condividi su Linkedin