What if Beautiful Green Poetry Could Affect Brain Health?
Here are three articles on the positive effect of green space on the brain, health and wellness. I wonder what the affect of using color words to create vivid images in poetry can do for the brain.
Lee, H. J. and D. K. Lee (2019). "Do Sociodemographic Factors and Urban Green Space Affect Mental Health Outcomes Among the Urban Elderly Population?" Int J Environ Res Public Health 16(5). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30836691
Chen, Z., Y. He, et al. (2016). "Enhanced functional connectivity properties of human brains during in-situ nature experience." PeerJ 4: e2210.
Groenewegen PP, den Berg AE, de Vries S, Verheij RA. 2006. Vitamin G: effects of green space on health, well-being, and social safety. BMC Public Health 6:149 DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-6-149. [Full Article] https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1471-2458-6-149
The Brain in a Green Environment
In this study on how people's brains respond to a green natural environment researchers noted, "analyses revealed that a brief [20 minutes] in-situ restorative nature experience may induce more efficient and stronger brain connectivity with enhanced small-world properties compared with a stressful urban experience. The enhanced small-world properties were found to be correlated with "coherent" experience measured by Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS). Exposure to nature also induces stronger long-term correlated activity across different brain regions with a right lateralization.
Researchers, "intentionally selected two typical sites with representative slopes: a wooded campus garden for the nature scene and a traffic island under an elevated highway for the urban scene. From where the participants were seated, the nature scene consisted of 89% visible greenery and water and only 4% visible buildings and/or paved areas; the urban scene consisted of only 8% visible greenery and 56% visible buildings and/or paved areas. Based on a focus group interview after a site visit, the nature environment is highly restorative whereas the urban environment is clearly not. In-situ environmental stimuli were adopted instead of pictorial representations to capture the multisensory experiences of the nature and urban environments."
Concluding researchers said, "These findings may advance our understanding of the functional activities during in-situ environmental exposures and imply that a nature or nature-like environment may potentially benefit cognitive processes and mental well-being."
- Chen, Z., Y. He, et al. (2016). "Enhanced functional connectivity properties of human brains during in-situ nature experience." PeerJ 4: e2210.
Vitamin G for Green
One of the articles referenced was Groenewegen PP, den Berg AE, de Vries S, Verheij RA. 2006. Vitamin G: effects of green space on health, well-being, and social safety. BMC Public Health 6:149 DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-6-149. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1471-2458-6-149
"This research has demonstrated that mere exposure to views of nature can improve people's health and well-being by providing restoration from stress and mental fatigue."
Researchers noted, "previous experimental research in environmental psychology has shown that a natural environment has a positive effect on well-being through restoration of stress and attentional fatigue. Descriptive epidemiological research has shown a positive relationship between the amount of green space in the living environment and physical and mental health and longevity The program has three aims. First, to document the relationship between the amount and type of green space in people's living environment and their health, well-being, and feelings of safety. Second, to investigate the mechanisms behind this relationship. Mechanisms relate to exposure (leading to stress reduction and attention restoration), healthy behavior and social integration, and selection. Third, to translate the results into policy on the crossroads of spatial planning, public health, and safety. Strong points of our program are: we study several interrelated dependent variables, in different ordinary settings (as opposed to experimental or extreme settings), focusing on different target groups, using appropriate multilevel methods."
Defining green space, researchers said, "restorative effects can be achieved by merely looking at nature or natural elements, indicating that the aesthetic experience of nature may play a role in this mechanism. Besides providing relief from stress, an aesthetically attractive living environment may also improve well-being by enhancing satisfaction, attachment, and a sense of responsibility. Related to stress reduction, (American) evidence suggests that exposure to natural environments may reduce feelings of anger, frustration and aggression (e.g., ). In turn, this may enhance feelings of social safety, and even reduce actual rates of aggressive behavior and criminal activity. Physical exposure to cleaner air may play a role also. Traffic density seems to be the most important source of polluted air in the direct vicinity, while the overall level of air pollution is rather constant in The Netherlands "
Another most recent article noted, "the mounting mental health issues faced by elderly urban residents increase the social and economic costs to society associated with dementia and depression. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the characteristics of elderly urban residents suffering from mental health issues, to address these issues more effectively. We used 2015 Community Health Survey data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify the demographic and social characteristics of 11,408 elderly urban residents in relation to stress levels and symptoms of depression in seven metropolitan areas in Korea, and to calculate the odds ratio for urban green space. We found that the prevalence of these mental health issues generally decreased in relation to the ratio of green space of an area. These findings suggest identifying elderly people who are vulnerable to certain mental health issues based on demographic and social characteristics and demonstrate that the ratio of urban green space within a community is an important component in improving mental health outcomes for elderly urban residents. These findings have policy implications for assisting elderly people vulnerable to certain mental health issues and for establishing a green welfare policy targeting this population."
- Lee, H. J. and D. K. Lee (2019). "Do Sociodemographic Factors and Urban Green Space Affect Mental Health Outcomes Among the Urban Elderly Population?" Int J Environ Res Public Health 16(5). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30836691
The words, "visionary leadership" are frequently bandied about but what do they mean?
If we characterize a visionary leader as someone who has vision or foresight, then it is worth considering whether we are talking about physical eyesight — the ability to see the expression on another person's face, the eyesight to recognize the beauty in the world amongst the ugliness, or to literally differentiate the pattern of opportunities from dysfunction.
How is your eyesight? Can you find comfort and a sense of inclusion in the ways in which you are similar to those around you and learn from unique individuals who are very different from you?
Often we don't see how we are connected in unexpected ways. Our expectation literally changes our ability to see, recognize and interpret the light waves coming our way. A few years ago, a three-year-old with blond hair, the color of corn silk drawled in her Virginia accent, "your hair and my hair are the same." My brown hair, had started to go grey when I was twenty, by the time I was 50, it was completely white. I smiled at her and said, "honey, I wish that were true."
She could see a connection, where I did not. There are times when I forget to look for the similarities. I get comfortable hiding, camouflaging the parts of myself that I am not at ease with. I start thinking, as long as I don't move, grow, or learn, I can keep myself safe from feeling alone, misunderstood and different.
Sure, I can focus on the ways in which we are different. Perhaps you are a man, and that differentiates you from half of the seven billion human beings on this planet. The earth is also half full of women and I can look at the ways in which I am the same as them. Three and a half billion is an awful lot of people to share something in common with. Although I don't think I look at all like a chimpanzee, I share 98.5 percent of my DNA sequences with chimpanzees, so my similarity with you and with other human beings is even greater.
You and I and she are the same. I know, I know, I said we are not the same and I don't know you. I do know something about you though. You are human and just that connects us on some level to the other seven billion people on this planet. You understand English, along with up to 1.5 billion other people.
And yet I am also unique. There is only a one in seven billion chances that a living person on planet earth was born in Provo, Utah, USA, to an international businessman and an artist, and grew up in Los Angeles, California; Bogota, Colombia; Brussels, Belgium, and then lived in Tokyo, Japan, Toronto, Canada, who found herself in Tel Aviv, Israel on September 11th, 2001 after a magnificent scuba diving trip in Egypt. It is a unique combination of events and circumstances, which influences how I "look" to you, but each place, each node of my life, provides a potential intersection, something we have in common. A reason, if you will, for why you and I don't have to feel alone, different, or alienated from each other.
No one ever says, "I feel normal. I fit perfectly here." Everyone wants to feel safe, and no one does. That has to change because when all seven billion of us feels like we fit, we will have global peace and the abundance each one of us seeks for ourselves and our families.
I See You.
Here is a simple exercise to change how you "see people".
How Are You and I The Same Game
This exercises is great for eliminating depression and alienation. It can also raise self-esteem and a sense of belonging and contribution in a team. If you are a business leader trying to create better professional relationships, do this for yourself and see what changes in your relationship not only to your colleagues and customers, but with everyone else as well.
Also while doing this, best to keep in mind the saying, "People change all the time, but you — you can't change them.
Every day for a week, spend five minutes thinking about the people who are most important in your life. Make a list of the ways in which you are similar or connected. Each day add something new.
During the week for every person you come in contact with, consciously fill in the blank (quietly to yourself or you can tell someone):
You and I are the same because we both are / have _____________.
You can fill in the blank with whatever you want. You might be the same height, or members of the same community or have the same color hair or the same number of children or the same color car.
For people you know well you can fill in the blank with deeply personal characteristics or for the stranger you can fill in a sensation, something you see, hear, or can touch.
And sometimes when you are in a hurry you might fill in the blank with five fingers or women.
Every person you meet, notice some way in which you are similar, connected, don't need to feel alone or different.
- Originally posted on The Catalyzed Leader Blog
Kimberly Burnham, PhD
Published in over 100 books, Kimberly Burnham is a writer, poet, and complementary medicine practitioner. She authored Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program for people interested in improving their brain clarity, creativity and muscle movements. Her current project focuses on color words, the brain and vision health designed to assist people in seeing better. Kimberly's Ph.D. (Integrative Medicine) considered manual therapy techniques (Integrative Manual Therapy, Matrix Energetics, Acupressure, Reiki) and health coaching for people with Parkinson's disease. She is an avid gardener and environmentalist, who bicycled 3000 miles across the U.S. in 2013. Kimberly Burnham is the managing editor of Inner Child Magazine and on the board of The United World Movement for Children. For a brain health coaching phone consultation or an appointment in Spokane, Washington contact Kimberly at https://www.nervewhisperer.solutions/ or email her at NerveWhisperer@gmail.com.
Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)
860-221-8510 phone and what's app. Skype: Kimberly Burnham (Spokane, Washington)
Chat with Kimberly about Parkinson's, Poetry or other Brain related issues.
Not Taking Advantage of Your Amazon Author's page?
Kimberly Burnham helps authors get their books out into the world more broadly by improving their free Amazon Author's page and book pages, posting a book review on her blog and on her LinkedIn Pulse blog (over 12,000 followers) Promotion packages start at $50. Contact her at NerveWhisperer@gmail.com. See her Amazon Author's Page.
See her list of publications including her latest book of brain health meditations, Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program.
Designed to enhance memory, creativity, and inner peace, Awakenings: Peace,Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program is available free of charge as a Kindle eBook on February 14-15, 2019. [Click Here].
Please share and write a review on Amazon.
I am looking for guest blog opportunities and a position as poet-in-residence. My current project is writing dictionary poems using words in different languages for the English word "peace." You can read some of my poems on Poemhunter .
As poet-in-residence I would write poems on different words in different languages and broadcast them throughout the social media blogosphere. Each poem would link back to your site where the word or language appeared.
I would expect some sort of stipend and a six month to one year placement. Please contact me for details if your organization is interested in having a poet-in-residence to help get your message out. Nervewhisperer@gmial.com
Buy the print or eBook, review Awakenings then contact Kimberly for a free 20 minute brain health consultation. Email or Phone
(Regular rates $120 per hour or 10 sessions for $650.)