Some people like the colour green as it is synonymous with money. Who would not want to have more money to be able to live a more comfortable life? Aside from the association with money, green is closely related to living environments such as green spaces. Greenspaces are inclusions or sections of plants or nature within an area (e.g., neighbourhood environment, parks, or home). The presences of nature elements influence the physiological mechanism that leads to well-being. This exposure does not have to be too grand. Even exposure to home plants can create a green space atmosphere around you. This exposure will induce a physiological influence impacting your well-being that can ultimately make you more money.
Exposure to greenspaces from the surrounding environment has numerous physiological impacts that can boost overall function. For example, green spaces can help reduce excessive rumination. Rumination is “a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses” (Bratman, 2015). Rumination is often difficult to avoid as it is part of thinking, and as human beings, thinking is something we do that makes us human. The physiological makeup of rumination is very complex as it has multiple players. Rumination is seen to be a product of the Default Mode Network (DMS). It is more prominent in the Anterior Medial Prefrontal Cortex (amPFC), the Dorsal Medial Prefrontal Cortex (dmPFC) and the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) (which facilitate self-referential processing and interactions) (Zhou. 2020). The Default Mode Network is the observable state the brain is in when the brain is at rest. The presence of rumination is correlated with increased activity of these brain regions. Though rumination is correlated with the brain’s activity, it can be
altered by environmental factors like immersion in greenspaces. According to Bratman (2015), rumination decreased with a 90-minute walk through a natural environment and a 30-minute’ walk (Lopes, 2020). Walking is not just a physical activity that is healthy for body functions but also reduces the negative self-thoughts and talks that happen. This decrease in rumination also translates to the physiological response in correlation with the activity in the DMS. In other words, the decreased self-negative thoughts reflect the decreased activity of those brain activities listed before (DMS, amPFC, and dmPFC). As a result, during the DMS or resting state of the brain, the brain does not perform excessive negative self-thoughts.
The reduced negative self-thought help increases productivity. With the less self-depreciative and maladaptive thoughts pattern, there is an increase in positive thoughts and self-believe. This increase in belief helps generate more productive action and risk increasing the likelihood of success. This increase in productivity helps generate more effective work production in all sectors of activity. This positive feedback will ultimately translate to a better activity to earn more money, thus, further increasing the comfort of one’s life. This comfortability without much stress adds to less inflammation and stress response from the Hypothalamic Adrenal pathway (HPA). With this overall increased wellness and income, one becomes better overall in their daily life. All of this is just because of choice to immerse in nature via walking or adding a couple of nature aspects (e.g., plants) around you. After all, money does grow on trees.
Bratman, G. N., Hamilton, J. P., Hahn, K. S., Daily, G. C., & Gross, J. J. (2015). Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 112(28), 8567-8572.
Lopes, S., Lima, M., & Silva, K. (2020). Nature can get it out of your mind: The rumination reducing effects of contact with nature and the mediating role of awe and mood. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 71, 101489.
Zhou, H. X., Chen, X., Shen, Y. Q., Li, L., Chen, N. X., Zhu, Z. C., … & Yan, C. G. (2020). Rumination and the default mode network: Meta-analysis of brain imaging studies and implications for depression. Neuroimage, 206, 116287.
Ẹniọlá Adeoye-Lawal, intern, IASIS NGO