Support Mental Restoration/Ease Stress

Desert Rain Smells (06-29-22)

Researchers have investigated the consequences of smelling the sorts of odors present in deserts when it rains.  Nabhan, Daugherty, and Hartung found that “Desert dwellers know it well: the smell of rain and the feeling of euphoria that comes when a storm washes over the parched earth. That feeling, and the health benefits that come with it, may be the result of oils and other chemicals released by desert plants after a good soaking. . . .

Pediatric Healthcare Design (06-02-22)

Steelcase conducted a pediatric healthcare-related literature review and developed design principles that can be used in a variety of spaces, from waiting areas to exam rooms.  Via the literature review, Steelcase determined that in pediatric healthcare settings “engaging young patients in their surrounding environment can help minimize anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Exploration provides choices, and choices provide a sense of control. . . . Children need movement and sensory experiences to reduce stress. . . .

Impulsive Sound and Performance (06-01-22)

Radun and colleagues investigated the effects of impulsive sound on cognitive performance.  They report that “Exposure to impulsive sound (65 dB LAeq) was compared with quiet sound (35 dB LAeq) and steady-state sound (65 dB LAeq). . . . Compared to quiet sound, impulsive sound caused more annoyance, workload, and lack of energy, raised cortisol concentrations, reduced systolic blood pressure, and decreased accuracy. . . . Compared with steady-state sound, impulsive sound was experienced as more annoying and causing a higher workload and more lack of energy.

Music’s Effects (05-16-22)

Birman and Ferguson increase our understanding of the cognitive effects of listening to music.  They report that their study participantswere randomly assigned to four different groups: silence (no music), classical music, rock, and the final group could choose any genre they liked. The California Verbal Learning Test—Second Edition (CVLT-II) was administered to assess participant’s memory. Anxiety was also assessed before and after the memory test to see whether the music had any effect.

Mindful Nature (05-11-22)

Macaulay lead a team that investigated mindfulness in nature settings.  The researchers report that “Before and after a 20-minute outdoor experience, participants . . . completed surveys. . . . Participants were randomly allocated to one of four engagement intervention groups: mindful engagement, directed engagement, mind wandering, and an unguided control group. . . . the unguided control group had the greatest level of attention restoration. . . . .

Healthcare Art and Anxiety (04-28-22)

Gore and colleagues studied the effects of seeing art on anxiety among cancer patients.  They report that they compared anxiety levels for “three groups (participants who observed an electronic selection of artwork with and without guided discussion, and a control group that did not engage in either dedicated art observation activity).  . . .  [average] anxiety scores were significantly lower among those who participated in guided art observation, compared to [the  control group]. . . .


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