Did you know that green experiences encourage our resiliency?
Resilience is our ability to withstand and recover from difficult conditions. Throughout our lives we will encounter situations that test our resilience—in fact, we have all just been through a year that has tested our ability to withstand difficulties to an extreme.
While we believe that spending time in green spaces is wonderful for so many reasons, studies have shown that spending time in green environments can help us withstand difficulties when we face them in our lives. Experiences that result from these challenging situations and losses, such as stress, anxiety, depression, and cognitive and physical fatigue, can be aided by spending time in green environments.
In 2010, the National Recreation and Park Association gathered evidence of this through their research series. Conversely, research showed that environments lacking green space do not seem to help with recovery. Physical responses to distress, such as raised blood pressure, a racing heart, fatigue and elevated cortisol levels, are slower to return to baseline levels when in urban environments lacking green space. Furthermore, some environments that are noisy, chaotic, and even dangerous, as some urban environments are, actually add to stress.
At Trellis, we are committed to using green spaces as “living classrooms” where we can engage with youth and community members, grow food for sharing, and build on our capacities for resilience and living in a more sustainable world. The gardens that we help to establish along with our partners can provide a green respite that allows for healing as well as shoring up our resilience.
A vegetable garden provides a source of fresh and nutritious produce to the surrounding community, but equally important is the benefit to the gardener. When we have a chance to sink our hands into the soil and feel connected to the earth and the green space around us, we are caring for ourselves as well as our neighbor.
One of the principal aims of our mission at Trellis is to help build more resilient communities, but the first step starts with an individual. When we feel the sense of calm and peace that we get when spending time in green spaces, we are better able to help and care for others.
Taking a quick walk at sunset, reading the morning paper outside or by your favorite window, spending time at a nearby park or garden and breathing in fresh air can work wonders. We encourage you to remember to take time for yourself, especially in a green space, which can bring you peace, strength, revitalization, and improved resiliency.