landscape architects relieve stressJan 10, 2017 0 Blog, Health, Landscape Architecture
Stress is part of our daily lives in some degree or another. Doctors know and studies repeatedly confirm that these stress levels can affect our bodies and health in a myriad of ways, both mentally and physically. Landscape Architects are able to remedy some of our stress levels simply through designing spaces that provide us with quiet places whether in an urban park or our own backyards.
The effects of high levels of chronic, long-term stress can diminish our cognitive function and increase anxiety and depression. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults, or 18 percent of the U.S. population. This number results in a cost of $42 billion per year, which is almost a third of the country’s $148 billion mental health bill. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), there has been a 400 percent increase in the number of teens and adults medicated with anti-depressants, which are used to treat anxiety, between 1988-1994 and 2005-2008.
Stress makes everything else we’re dealing with that much harder, and chronic stress can wreck havoc on our bodies. These are just a few things that stress either causes or worsens:
- Poor sleep
- High blood pressure
- Lower immunity
- Heart disease
- Chronic pain
- Stomach issues
- Anxiety disorder
- Mood disorders
- Skin conditions
Numerous studies have shown that access to trees and green spaces calm us and help to alleviate stress. One such study found that access to trees and green space are a major predictor of longevity, especially among people living in lower-income communities. A Scandinavian study found that office workers with forest views showed greater job satisfaction and lower stress levels than office workers with non-forest views.
Integrating nature into the built environment in the form of parks, trees, gardens, walkways and green roofs can help counter the stressors of our lives. Gary Haygood designs calming, secluded respites from the world while only steps from your door. Check out his portfolio for ideas on how he can help you design your personal oasis to help alleviate the stress in your life and those in your family.
See more at ASLA.org.