Improve Mood/Increase Feelings of Wellbeing

Urban Psychology (01-19-18)

Ellard directs the Urban Realities Laboratory at the University of Waterloo.  He reports that some of his Laboratory’s research findings include:  “Street-level facades that are low in visual complexity not only cause participants to self-report lower levels of interest and pleasure, but their levels of autonomic arousal become low.  The biometric signature of a low-complexity street looks very much like the signature shown by participants in laboratory studies who are experiencing states of boredom.”  Also, “Immersion in greenspace in cities, even when it is modest (a community garden in t

Urban Planning for Psychological Challenges (01-12-18)

Whitby links environmental design and positive experiences for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  She reports that “Inclusive design enhances environmental competency and removes barriers to enable people to interact with their surroundings in the way they want to. Two disorders that can affect people's environmental competency are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This scoping study found that interpersonal interactions were a key barrier to their use of public buildings.

More on the Benefits of Nature (01-09-18)

Data collected via a smartphone app confirms that there are psychological benefits to nearby nature.  A press release issued by Kings College reports that Bakolis, Hammond, Smythe, Gibbons, Davidson, Tognin, and Mechelli found that among people in cities “(i) being outdoors, seeing trees, hearing birdsong, seeing the sky, and feeling in contact with nature were associated with higher levels of mental wellbeing, and that (ii) the beneficial effects of nature were especially evident in those individuals with greater levels of impulsivity who are at greater risk of mental health issues [higher

Lunchtime Park Walks and Relaxation Spaces: Good Ideas (12-14-17)

Having parks near workplaces where employees can walk for 15 minutes at lunchtime can be good for business—and so can creating an at-work space where people can do relaxation exercises.  A Sianola-lead team reports that “park walk . . . and relaxation . . . groups were asked to complete a 15-min exercise during their lunch break on 10 consecutive working days. Afternoon well-being. . . [was] assessed twice a week before, during, and after the intervention, altogether for 5 weeks. . . . park walks at lunchtime were related to better concentration and less fatigue in the afternoon. . . .

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