Dutch environmental psychologist Joren van Dijk is researching the kind of environments in which people best thrive. According to him, we generally relax more easily in a natural, green environment.
“There are a lot of people, sounds, buildings and vehicles in a city,” he says. “Humans are generally good at ignoring those distractions, but it does take energy. We come up with all kinds of ways to shield ourselves from those stimuli, such as withdrawing, looking at other people less, or putting on headphones.”
“Observing nature or greenery also helps. The mechanism in the brain that you use to ignore stimuli and to make yourself focus can become exhausted. In nature this ‘attention mechanism’ gets to recharge. Someone who sees a lot of greenery is therefore more capably armed against exhaustion. That’s why nature in the city is being valued more and more.”
- In Issue 32, journalist Jeannette Jonker tells us about the joy of birdwatching and why she loves spontaneous little get-togethers with robins, jays, starlings and other birds.
Text Jeannette Jonker Photography Daiga Ellaby/Unsplash.com