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Plan greenery and water to sooth out stress

Plan greenery and water to sooth out stress

Studies have shown that our frazzled nerves are calmed by scenes with green plants and blue water. If green and blue scenes turn on our dopamine feel-good hormones, why not duplicate them indoors? Bringing gardens and water features indoors can create serene spaces at work and at home.
Indoor gardens have many benefits: air quality is improved, our stress is lowered, recovery from illness is faster, mental fatigue is reduced and productivity is higher. The sound of rippling water in an indoor fountain creates so-called white noise which helps to sooth anxiety.
Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, wrote Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. Nichols created the expression ‘blue mind’ to describe the “calm, peacefulness, unity, and sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” that people feel in and around water. This feeling probably results from catecholamine neurotransmitters which reduce stress and anxiety.

Here in Namibia we instinctively know this. In Olaf Palme Street, Windhoek, there is a stunning indoor garden with a huge ficus (wild fig) tree, as well as banana trees, cycads and other plants. The ficus is large enough to house a swing. Friendly sunlight passing through the glass fibre roof illuminates the foliage. Refreshing, calming beauty. At Omeya, where no boundary walls are permitted, a couple opted for a private indoor braai area combining yuccas with decorative tree stumps and bark mulch. The sensation of being outside is enhanced by the lack of a roof.
Fancy a sense of general happiness and satisfaction in your life? Water features can be wall mounted, displayed on a table or placed on the floor. Surrounded by your favourite indoor plants it offers a relaxing, healthy vibe.
If Zen and feng shui are important to you, you will want to carefully plan the position of the water feature for maximum energy.
Blue water and greenery: just what the doctor ordered!

Christine Stoman

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