A study in green: Harnessing nature's palette for well-being

A study in green: Harnessing nature's palette for well-being

Jonas Hultenius, Software Architecht at Sogeti and one of our global experts in SogetiLabs explains the importance of the color green, when we navigate the complexities of the modern world. Read his blog here to find out more.

A few weeks back my wife asked if I, and the family, would like to join her for a trip to the flower shop. My instinctual response was, why? We already have potted plants and greenery in more or less every single room of our above average size house. Why would we go there?

My patient wife then explained to me that she just wanted to be around more greenery. For the calming effects and the fact that it brings her joy. This, and the actual trip, sent me down the rabbit hole trying to find out why. And after having done some extensive research on the subject including reading reports from NASA about greenery and plants on long space missions to the psychological impact on greenery and the color green in everything from bomb shelters to large office complexes, these are my conclusions.

In the bustling canvas of our daily lives, the color green stands out not just for its visual appeal but also for its profound impact on our well-being. It turns out my wife was right, as usual.

Beyond being a hue that denotes life and vitality, scientific studies have revealed the manifold benefits of incorporating green elements, particularly plants, into our environments. This phenomenon is not just aesthetic, it’s a nuanced interplay between our sensory perceptions and the innate connection we share with nature.

Our evolutionary history intertwines with the natural world, and this connection has left an indelible mark on our psyche. The color green, abundant in nature, signifies growth, renewal, and balance. Psychologists and environmental scientists alike delve into the study of biophilia, a concept proposing that humans possess an inherent affinity for nature. This biophilic connection explains our deep-seated inclination to seek out green spaces and the positive impact they have on our mental health. And on a personal note, explains why Ioves working from the great outdoors something I have been trying to do once a week for the last couple of months.

One of the remarkable ways in which green influences our well-being is by acting as a stress buffer. The modern pace of life, often characterized by urbanization and technological immersion, exposes us to constant stimuli that can lead to stress and mental fatigue. Green environments, whether outdoor parks or indoor spaces adorned with plants, provide a respite. They act as visual sanctuaries, offering a soothing contrast to the concrete jungle.

Several studies have explored the physiological responses to greenery. Exposure to nature, even in the form of simulated environments, has been linked to reduced cortisol levels, lower heart rates, and improved mood. This phenomenon is particularly relevant in the context of workplaces, where stress and burnout are pervasive. Integrating green elements into office spaces is not just an aesthetic choice, it’s a strategic move for fostering employee well-being and productivity.

In office settings, the incorporation of plants has gained recognition as a form of biophilic design. Beyond the aesthetic enhancement they provide, plants contribute to improved air quality by acting as natural filters. This not only creates a healthier indoor environment but also enhances cognitive function. Research indicates that the presence of plants in workspaces can lead to higher levels of concentration, increased creativity, and a general sense of well-being among employees.

The significance of green extends beyond the visual realm. The aroma of nature, commonly associated with green spaces, has been shown to have stress-relieving properties. This dimension further emphasizes the multisensory impact of incorporating green elements into our surroundings.

As the world grapples with issues of environmental sustainability, the metaphorical and literal significance of the color green becomes even more pronounced. Green spaces, whether community parks or personal gardens, contribute to ecological balance and biodiversity. This environmental stewardship, coupled with the positive impact on human well-being, underscores the holistic benefits of integrating greenery into our lives.

To round things off, the color green goes beyond aesthetics, it’s a narrative of our deep-seated connection with nature and the tangible benefits this connection brings to our mental and physical health. Whether in the workplace or at home, the intentional inclusion of green elements not only transforms our surroundings but also enhances the quality of our lives.

As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, a touch of green becomes more than just a color choice, it’s a prescription for a healthier, more balanced, and vibrant existence.

  • Jonas Hultenius
    Jonas Hultenius
    Software Architect & SogetiLabs Fellow, Sogeti Sweden
    070-518 66 25

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