May 15, 2010
I love taking walks around my new neighborhood.
My new ‘hood is Beverly Hills, and it’s gorgeous. When I lived in Italy, I realized how much my surroundings affected my happiness. It’s important to my happiness to live in an area that’s aesthetically pleasing.
And when I house-sat for a rich friend who lived off Montana Ave in Santa Monica a few years ago, I figured out why I liked rich areas – because the front yards had beautiful gardens & the streets were lined with massive trees. These people had the resources to invest into making their surroundings beautiful.
When I moved into my new ‘hood in January, my street had huge, bare oak trees arching overhead. January turned into February, and I wondered when the leaves would start to come in. Finally, in mid-March, I saw the first tiny green leaves appearing. By the first week of April, the leaves were bigger, and there were tons more of them. It’s amazing to see the leaves appear, suddenly, all together, out of nowhere. It’s amazing how they all know to sprout together. First there were none, and then every tree had about 40 baby leaves.
I can’t wait for June, when the leaves will form a thick, lush tunnel over the street. The sun will shine dapples through the green, the air will seem cleaner.
Echoing what I realized years ago, recent studies are showing that greenery makes people happier and healthier. Just five minutes of wandering through some green per day will improve your overall quality of life.
Another natural thing that, weirdly, makes us healthier – birdsong. People who listen to birdsong in an open-floor-plan-office are 33% more productive. Why? Back in the day, our limbic systems evolved to know that if we could hear the birds singing, we were safe from predators. And, like being somewhere with a lot of greenery, it signaled that we were in a place with lots of resources to support us.
I love how we’re wired for nature.
Here’s the TED talk where I heard about the birdsong thing; if you’ve never watched TED, I HIGHLY recommend it. They are fascinating!