Research finds that key to creative energy and productivity is real time away and rest- both internal and external

Interesting research is demonstrating what we have suspected for a while- that it isn’t enough to just stop working to really recharge (especially if we keep thinking and worrying about work while ‘resting’). What is really needed is both internal rest, such as doing something mindless and restful, like daydreaming, reading a fiction book, etc, and external rest, such as gardening or hanging out with friends. This counteracts the prevailing American ideal of work and productivity, which views constant work, sleep sacrifice, and burnout as hallmarks of productivity. Recent books such as Arianna Huffington’s Sleep Revolution, Carl Honore’s In Praise of Slow , and the WELL Building Standards’s MIND Feature  have challenged this ideal, showing in fact that this constant busyness is counterproductive and ineffective. This research supports this growing trend of acknowledging the role of rest for renewal and productivity, and health and well-being. See the full article here.

Chemical exposure during childhood linked to cancer

about-the-smart-human-image-300x269New research is solidifying the link between childhood chemical exposure and the increased risk of cancer, often from daily household products. Limiting exposure by using products known to be less harmful and can help reduce this risk. Standards such as the Living Building Challenge Red Petal list, and the WELL Building Standard, are addressing these risks to health. See the full article here.

Mayors from GOP states address climate change

Mayors from Arizona and Texas encouraged cities to use nature to mitigate against climate change. The US Conference of Mayors will vote Monday on a resolution to encourage cities to use natural resources to protect coastlines, air and freshwater quality, and maintain a healthy tree cover. Two reports by The Nature Conservancy showed how natural buffers could be cost-efficient and more effective than traditional solutions. Click here to read the report.

Green roofs and mental health

Our Green Home recently published a short article in which I discuss some of the results of my doctoral research on the relationship between green roofs and mental health. The article also discussed some aesthetic considerations for those considering green roof design and mental health. For the article click here.



Exercise in nature improves health

New research out of the UK has linked even five minutes of exercise in nature with an improvement in mental health. Using 10 studies that looked at 1,250 people, researchers found exercise in nature improved mood and self-esteem in participants. The effect was increased if a calm body of water was part of the nature. Jules Pretty at the University of Essex lead the study.

Central Park, NYC

Click here for the BBC news story.