Trees can give your spirits a lift in many different ways
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Everybody's looking for an antidote to the melancholy that comes with recession and its string of depressing news.
Seeking out happy hour specials comes to mind.
Or how about those dollar menu items?
Madison Avenue thinks nostalgia might soothe Wall Street and us. Pepsi is about to launch a "throwback" campaign with packaging that evokes the 1960s and '70s. (The '70s? Double-digit inflation and skyrocketing mortgage rates? Thanks anyway.)
Here's an idea, and it's free. Chin up. Look around. Despite the hard freeze earlier this week, it's spring, and you don't want to miss it -- not in these recessionary times.
Trees and shrubs in most areas put on their best show of bloomery in the second half of April and stretching through May. While the earliest bloomers, such as forsythia, fade, most others are getting started.
Redbud and dogwood are bright and beautiful, of course, but if that's all you're seeing, you need some consciousness-raising.
All trees make flowers, but some aren't as ostentatious about it. Why? Many are wind-pollinated and so don't need to be overly showy to attract bird and insect pollinators.
Trees have value beyond aesthetics and even beyond their ability to reduce stress. Trees can improve air quality, reduce stormwater, boost real estate values, store carbon and save energy.
Look at trees. Improve your mood. Reduce stress. Feel better.
Research has found:
"Visual exposure" to settings with trees produced significant recovery from stress in five minutes, evidenced by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension.
Housing areas with more trees had lower rates of home violence than in similar housing with fewer or no trees. Ties to neighbors were stronger, too.
Desk workers without views of nature claimed 23 percent more incidents of illness in the previous six months than those with views of nature.
Hospital patients who had views of trees needed less medication and had faster recovery times after surgery than those without such views.
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder experienced relief of symptoms after contact with nature. Being outside in paved, non-green areas didn't relieve symptoms.
First Published April 11, 2009 12:00 am