Finnish researchers studied how seasonal sunlight variations influence mood. Their findings, published in The Journal of Neuroscience,are useful in a variety of contexts, for example, for better understanding research data collected. The investigators report that “the length of daylight affects the opioid receptors, which in turn regulates the mood we experience. Seasons have an impact on our emotions and social life. Negative emotions are more subdued in the summer, whereas seasonal affective disorder rates peak during the darker winter months.
Improve Mood/Increase Feelings of Wellbeing
Cotneilio and colleagues studied relationships between sense of agency and scents. Sense of agency (SoA) is described as “ the feeling of ‘I did that’ as opposed to ‘the system did that’ supporting a feeling of being in control.” The team “investigated, for the first time, the effect of smell-induced emotions on the SoA. . . . participants were exposed to three scents with different valence (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral). Our results show that participants’ SoA increased with a pleasant scent compared to neutral and unpleasant scents.”
Research completed by Jiang and colleagues indicates that plant scents can augment wellbeing. The Jiang lead team describe their research: “Non-fragrant Primula malacoides Franchwas used as a control stimulus, and Primula forbesii Franch, which has a floral fragrance, was used as an experimental stimulus. . . . We found that mean blood pressure and pulse rate decreased significantly after the experiment in both conditions. . . . the vitality (V) subscale and total emotional state scores were significantly better in the experimental vs. control condition. . . .
Loder’s book shares useful insights on greening cities. In her introduction, Loder describes her text: it focuses on “how creatively bringing nature into cities can provide multiple benefits that can help to mitigate many of the urban problems we face. . . . Using new research and case studies on perceptions of small-scale urban greening projects . . .
Design, of spaces or objects or anything else, has the capacity to sooth and comfort the humans that encounter it. Neuroscience research details how design can be used to make calm, positive emotional states more likely.
Comfort, emotion, and performance links to workplace windows
Lipovac and Burnard review published research related to looking at wood (physical or virtual indoor interactions with real or imitation wood) and reach the conclusion that “Studies with longer exposure times to wood generally observed improved affective states [moods] and decreased physiological arousal in wooden settings. . . . Current evidence suggests that visual wood exposure may improve certain indicators of human stress. . . . Current research suggests that visual wood exposure could lead to beneficial outcomes, but the evidence is limited. . .
Perez-Urrestarazu and colleagues confirm the psychological value of plants by discussing at-home experiences during the pandemic. The researchers share that they learned via a survey completed by thousands of participants that the presence of “Indoor plants correlated with positive emotional well-being during the COVID-19 confinement. Negative emotions were more frequent in those living in small sized homes with minimal natural light and deprived of plants. Few plants strategically placed indoors and a higher number of plants combined with living walls outdoors are preferred. . .
Marselle and colleagues link more street trees closer to homes to a decreased likelihood that residents will be depressed. The investigators report that they “analysed the association of street tree density and species richness with antidepressant prescribing for 9751 inhabitants of Leipzig, Germany. We examined spatial scale effects of street trees at different distances around participant’s homes, using . . . buffers of 100, 300, 500, and 1000 m. . . . we found a lower rate of antidepressant prescriptions for people living within 100 m of higher density of street trees. . . .
Research completed by Rogers and Hart confirms that experiencing visual clutter is undesirable. The duo found that when people feel that their homes are cluttered, their wellbeing is degraded, “although the correlation between objective and subjective clutter was strong, 47.3% of those who scored in the healthy range of clutter on the objective clutter scale, reported that clutter has negatively impacted their quality of life. . . . This suggests that even when people manage clutter reasonably well, it can impact their quality of life. . . .