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Why We All Need Green In Our Lives

(CNN) It’s the color of the Emerald Isle, the hue of sickness and envy, and a shade associated with grotesque monsters. And its most universal interpretation conjures imagery of nature, a vibrant symbol of the environmental movement and healthy living.

Green, the mixture of blue and yellow, can be seen everywhere and in countless shades. In fact, the human eye sees green better than any color in the spectrum.

This, along with many other facts about this earthly color, makes it an essential part of our everyday lives.

But why is that?

Helping you see

We see green with ease because of how light reaches our eyes; the human eye translates waves of light into color.

When we see a green frog, the color that we see is the light reflected off of the surface of the frog’s skin, perceived by our eyes as green.

When we see these colors, the cones in our eyes are able to process the wavelengths and tell the brain what color is being observed.

Humans are trichromats, meaning we perceive three primary colors: blue, green and red. The retina in a human eye can detect light between wavelengths of 400 and 700 nanometers, a range known as the visible spectrum.

Each primary color corresponds to a different wavelength, starting with blue at the lowest (400 nanometers) and red at the highest (700 nanometers).

In the middle of the spectrum resides the color green, at around 555 nanometers. This wavelength is where our perception is at its best. Because of its position in the center of the spectrum, both blue and red light waves are enhanced and better perceived with the help of green waves.

Knowing your environment

Green space sweeps the planet. Before skyscrapers and suburbs popped up, our ancestors resided in forested regions full of greenery.

As they scavenged for food, the ability to differentiate between colored berries against the backdrop of green foliage was critical for survival.

The evolution of eyesight and the increasing ability to detect color with fine detail gave our primate ancestors an evolutionary advantage over other mammals who could not discern such differences as well.

Color changes in leaves, fruits and vegetables can indicate age or ripeness and even offer a warning that something may be poisonous or rotten.

Today, we continue to use this ancestral instinct at a farmers market or grocery store.

Sourcing your food

Bananas, though widely considered to be a yellow fruit, start off as green due to the presence of chlorophyll. Just as grass and leaves have chlorophyll to give them color, so do fruits.
Located in the cells of plants, chlorophyll plays a crucial role in photosynthesis, allowing plants to harvest energy from sunlight and convert it into energy that the plant can use to grow.

The molecule absorbs blue and red light well while reflecting the green light that we see.

The peels of bananas are bright green in color until the chlorophyll inside the peel begins to break down. As the fruit ripens, the molecule in the peel breaks down and we observe a color change from green to bright yellow – and we prefer to eat yellow bananas because they are sweeter.

While the chlorophyll in the banana breaks down, the starch in the peel is converted into sugar, so more yellow means more sugar – until it begins to rot.

Because of their high starch content, greener bananas are sometimes favored as a cure for upset stomachs.

This change in color also applies when glancing over an aisle of bright bell peppers. Our eyes help us find our favored ripeness and sweetness. Green peppers, with more chlorophyll, are less sweet. As they turn yellow and red, the peppers become sweeter.

When we’re enjoying a salad, a brown piece of wilted lettuce or kale is almost always discarded. And our eyes tell us the lawn is overdue for some maintenance when the color darkens.

So although we may not reside in the forests anymore, our keen perception of green continues to play a significant role in keeping us healthy.

Keeping you calm

Some scientists and researchers also believe that because our eyes are at the peak of their perception to detect the wavelengths corresponding with the color green, the shade may calm us down.

With less strain to perceive the colors, our nervous system can relax when perceiving the tone.

This sedative quality of green may explain why there is so much of it in hospitals, schools and work environments. Historically, actors and actresses would recess to green rooms after so much time looking into bright lights on stage, though modern “green rooms” are rarely painted green.

Helping you live longer

Natural environments, full of green vegetation, might help you live longer.

A 2016 study found that living in or near green areas can was linked with longer life expectancy and improved mental health in female participants. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital compared risk of death with the amount of plant life and vegetation near the homes of more than 100,000 women.

After the eight-year study was completed, the data revealed that participants who lived in the greenest areas had a 12% lower death rate than women living in the least green areas.

With more green space, study authors said, came more opportunity to socialize outdoors.

Additionally, the natural settings – compared with residential regions where plants and greenery were sparse – proved to be beneficial to mental health.

“We were surprised at the magnitude of the mental health pathway,” said Peter James, study author and research associate at the Harvard Chan School’s Department of Epidemiology.

Of those who did not live in greener areas, respiratory issues were the second highest cause of death. The study indicated that less exposure to polluted air may have been one of several reasons for increased life expectancy among for those who lived in green areas.

Our ancestors lived their entire lives outdoors. The benefits we stand to gain from adopting an outdoor mindset, James says, could have a positive impact. “We know already that vegetation can help mitigate the effect of climate change. Our study suggests the potential co-benefit for health.”

Article by Robert Jimison, CNN        Mon June 5, 2017
source: www.cnn.com
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10 Everyday Habits To Make You A Calmer Person

Have you ever taken the time to observe a naturally calm person?

They’re a sight to behold — the way they glide through the day with ease, not rushed and exuding quiet confidence. I imagine you envy them as I do.

Truly calm people are a rare and exotic species that you can learn a lot from. Learn their common behaviors and attitudes, and you too can become an expert in responding to everyday stress and frustrations.

Here are 10 habits of naturally calm people:

1. They choose to walk.

To meetings across town, the shops up the road or to exercise their dog, calm people walk every day.

Get off the bus or train a stop early if you have to. This simple leg-stretching, head-clearing activity is mandatory for serenity.

2. They forgo rushing.

They leave plenty of time to get where they’re going, and they don’t cram too much in. If misadventure strikes, they drop something off their list, reschedule it, or they get there when they get there and apologize graciously.

Rushing disturbs the peace and has no value. Be determined to quit this noxious habit.

3. They prioritize self-care.

Sufficient sleep, good nutrition and physical activity are nonnegotiable for them. These essentials are not sacrificed for a deadline or anything else.

Make them the backbone of your day and you stand a good chance at the composure you crave.

4. They use routines.

Calm people minimize the strain on their working memory by doing some things the same way every day. Morning rituals, weekly wardrobe, meal plans or whatever, much of their day is predetermined.

Operating on autopilot will minimize decision-making and ease day-to-day pressure.

patience-is-the-calm

5. They practice being in the moment.

Most calm buffs meditate, do yoga, tai chi or other formal meditative practice. Others are able to pay attention and be fully present in their own chosen mindful activity.

Choose surfing, gardening or reading with your kids, but be diligent and practice regularly to get the stress reduction effect.

6. They use their phones judiciously.

Calm people are not at the mercy of their phones. They relegate them to their appropriate use as an intermittent tool for work and communication, maybe a source of music or news.

You will not achieve peace or poise in your life while your phone continues to dominate your day.

7. They self-regulate and exercise healthy boundaries.

They are self-aware and responsive to their mental, physical and emotional state. They take breaks, stretch and snack, or let off steam as required. Self-discipline and assertiveness enables them to say no, to ask for help and to stop work at a reasonable hour.

Practice tuning in and asserting your needs within yourself and with others, and enjoy feeling more in control.

8. They expect things to go awry.

Their unflappable nature comes from a deep knowing that life is unpredictable. They do not expect things to go to plan and they are ready to adjust to whatever the day throws their way.

By all means have a plan but be ready to change it at any moment.

9. They connect with the world authentically and meaningfully.

The calm person engages at some point each day in activity that is not about success, money or mere time-passing. An exchange with a stranger, a call with a parent, somewhere, there will be worthwhile connection. In cooking, gardening, any creative pursuit (including parenting and relationship development), somewhere there will be passion and care.

Remember what matters to you and honor it daily.

10. They embrace their small place in the world.

Their greater contentment is borne of their knowing their tiny place in the universe. They remain aware of the world beyond themselves — this prevents self-absorption.

They take their work and responsibilities seriously, but not themselves. They do not carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Along side meditation, service to others (through work, volunteering or caring for another) is a common way to gain this healthy perspective. It breeds self-compassion, gratitude and resilience.

Dedicate a good portion of your day to focusing on others and emulate their steady outlook.

All of these behaviors and attitudes are within your grasp, even though it may not be easy to make them a habit tomorrow — start small and start now and enjoy all the calm you deservedly achieve.

by Jacqueline Stone      March 5, 2015        source: www.mindbodygreen.com