NATURAL GREEN SPACE IMPACTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

urban greenspace

The word cognitive holds the position of being the 22nd most popular word on Merriam-Webster.com. General meanings linked to this admired word are related to your mental health. Questioning minds are finding that a change in scenery from urban development to lush, green ecosystems gifts you with improved mental health. Diving deeper into the impacts of green space on mental abilities offers you a well-deserved reason to refresh your soul with regular treatments of natures’ remedies granted through a multi-sensational nature experience.

Cognitive relates to the diversity of processes that occurs within your mental abilities; such as thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering (5). Your skills include perception, memory, judgment and reasoning. Evaluating, problem solving, comprehension, and decision making are also terms included in your mental abilities (8). These characteristics relate to mental health and well-being as you realize your powers, respond to stress, work productively, and contribute to your community. Enriching your life with nature improves your mental health. Richard Louv uses the term “nature-deficit disorder” as a negative condition relating to depression in children that do not experience nature on a regular basis (1). Up to 12% of burgeoning global diseases result from mental and behavioral disorders.

The minds ability to process information and dictate behavior is guided by your environment (9). Quality mental health is impaired by artificial, built ecosystems (4). As our landscape is developing into human-made urban concrete and buildings then cognitive functioning and mental health trends are shifting. Your minds ability to remember, concentrate, remain focused, act impulsively, and define your moods are impacted by your environmental experiencing (2). Cities tend to have high concentrations of pollution and retain massive amounts of heat. Up to 57% of tested children had brain lesions when exposed to conditions found in highly polluted cities and hospital admissions for dementia and senility increased during heat-waves (7). Natural ecosystems bless humanity by cleaning up pollution, relieve the impacts from heat-island effect, and improve cognitive performance.

Resilience and recovery to stress improve your ability to concentrate when exposed to green space. The trees’ green lush regalia filters the air of impurities. Liquid water is changed to vapor while absorbing heat as leaves transpire this vital resource. The green canopies shade the understory and absorb heat to provide respite from the sun’s radiant energy. Attention Restoration Theory enlightens you to provide relief from your focused, directed attention to task by embracing involuntary fascination of birds and moving leaves. A multi-sensory awareness includes capturing the flowers fragrance, hearing the insects’ songs, and experiencing the movement found in air (1). Viewing natures’ beauty in advance of experiencing stress gifts you with a higher recovery and resilience to life’s pressures (3). Spice your experience with physical activity in natural environments to improve your mental health (6).

Your cognitive mental state is characterized by your ability to think, understand, perceive, and comprehend your environment. The landscape is continually being transformed from natural ecosystems to artificial, human built cities. As a result, your optimum mental health may be weakened. Relief may be found by dedicating time to experience and moving around in natural settings. Shifting your attention towards random events issues forth an invitation to improve the health of your mental state.

Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.

http://www.jazzyeco.com

References

1 Bolen, Anne. 2012. Healing Gardens. National Wildlife. Vol. 50:2.

2 Bratman, Gregory N., J. Paul Hamilton, and Gretchen C. Daily. 2012. The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Vol. 1249. Pgs. 118-136.

3 Brown, Daniel K., Jo L. Barton, and Valerie F. Gladwell. 2013. Viewing Nature Scenes Positively Affects Recovery of Autonomic Function Following Acute-Mental Stress. Environmental Science & Technology. Vol. 47:11. Pgs. 5562-5569.

4 Evans, GW. 2003. The built environment and mental health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin Of The New York Academy Of Medicine. Vol. 80. Pgs. 536-555.

5 Merriam-Webster: An Encyclopaedia Britannica Company. http://www.erriam-webster.com/dictionary/cognitive

6 Mitchell, Richard. 2013. Is physical activity in natural environments better for mental health than physical activity in other environments? Social Science & Medicine. Vol. 91. Pgs. 130-134.

7 United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2013. Eco-Health Relationship Browser. http://www.epa.gov/research/healthscience/browser/index.html

8 Wikipeida: The Free Encylopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognition

9 Zurich, ETH. 2009. Epigenetics: DNA Isn’t Everything. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090412081315.htm

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DETERMINATION AND FAITH CARRIES ME TO MY BIG MISSION

sustainable

My dream is to build a Sustainable Community to help at-risk women, educate the public on green lifestyles, support business development, and manage a wild-life sanctuary. The Community Business Plan was divinely inspired when I was shocked by the realization of challenges faced by woman as I lived below poverty. Being a smart woman and an environmentalist were roadblocks to my success. Environmentalist were considered to be terrorists and my Ph.D. and expertise was in Environmental Science. Determined to serve with my blessings, Align With The Wild non-fiction was born.

The Great Depression and Great Recession were two economic downturns that alerts us to an unstable financial infrastructure. The Mckinney report states “women have been a growing factor in the success of the US economy since the 1970s”. Yet according to Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, “women are the most likely to be in poverty than men”. Green Biz found 88 to 100 percent of Fortune 100 businesses are trending towards green portfolios. Mass extinctions are eliminating the natural ecosystems necessary for human survival. The sustainable community model provide perfect solutions to catalyze us towards a sustainable world.

It took me to live in poverty to realize the challenges faced by women. I created and read affirmations as I was determined to break down roadblocks. My days were filled with strategies for success; such as job searches, networking, and attending workshops. An opportunity to attend the Women’s Initiative business plan course blossomed into my completed business plan. A full time job and green courses filled my time as I defied my limits. Success was my goal and faith was my support.

My love of work was appreciated when I was a waitress. Although, I became too smart for my britches as I moved up the academic ladder. My love for nature and wildlife blessed me with my degrees from the University of Arkansas. Environmentalists were not popular since some tree-huggers took extremes to protect biodiversity. Spirit guided me to put my knowledge into words as Align With The Wild became my big business card. A predominantly female dominated author network guides my path in the process to generate the revenue to build the community.

Being open to opportunities, moving on a steady path for success, and recognizing my life’s calling gives me the abilities to move towards success. It is my gift to the world to be successful by creating a Sustainable Community. Challenges that cross my path provides me with a window to recognize what is needed to help women, businesses, and wildlife. Remaining positive, determined, and persistence directs my journey. The trip included writing a book to offer a roadmap for others to achieve their success.

Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.

http://www.jazzyeco.com

MIMIC NATURE’S CIRCULAR ECONOMY PRINCIPLE

New_1_circular economy

Change is constant. Natural ecosystems’ and organisms’ ability to adapt is a prime example of how change is the driving force for long term sustainable strategies. The United States financial infrastructure has its foundation in Gross National Product that is volatile, unstable, and embrace many stagnant limitations. Bio-inspiration and bio-mimicry are science and business institutions that observe nature to copy their designs and techniques. The Circular Economy Principle is a revolutionary trend that is riding on the changing winds to establish a course towards a resilient, adaptable model for long term stability. Creating a stable, well rooted economic foundation is a sound intention whether you manage a home environment or oversee a business ecosystem.

Single-celled organisms were severely challenged to survive on the vast, poisonous landscape in geological history. The life forms were opportunistic to find resources, adapted for success, and passed a lifetime of change to successive generations in the evolutionary process. An organized process of exchanging elements and forming collaborative relationships has resulted in the complex world that provides for your survival. The amazing functional interrelationships involves an exchange of resources that continuously cycles through communities specialized on utilizing the outputs from other communities. For example; a magnificent tree grows its roots into the ground. Old tissue is shed during the growth process. This tissue becomes a food source for fungi as they pass on the discarded elements that supports a rich community of underground populations. The community dynamics is cohesive in a sustainable design for success.

In contrast, humans have created an infrastructure where the Great Depression and Great Recession are testimonies to an unstable, volatile system. Outlined by the Gross National Product (GNP), success is determined by the final goods and services produced in a one-year period. Success and growth are dependent upon creating more goods and services and increasing the population numbers so more people can purchase the increasing number of products. Goods are generated by harvesting materials that are manufactured and transported to distribution venues. At the end of life, the products become waste and pollution while being discarded or burned. This linear, one-way flow through system creates a stagnant pool of valuable elements and resources that houses an abundant source of wealth.

The Circular Economy Principle mimics natural systems with the premise that the output from any process serves as a resource for another community process. Strategically managing the flow of materials and resources is a testament from taking insights from living systems to develop a collaborative network of interrelationships. Re-purposing output eliminates the end of life waste and pollution to establish a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ resource cycling, man-made ecosystem. Embracing a non-linear, feedback-rich, and interdependent infrastructure cycles the very elements that fuels the survival of a diversity of life forms, businesses, and lifestyles. The San Francisco city managers recognized the value in organic wastes by requiring all residents to compost their organic material or pay a fine.

Natural ecosystems have survived on Earth for billions of years in a process of designing sustainable functioning ecosystems. A cycling of elements becomes a resource in a series of community interactions. Humans developed a linear, flow through of supply that ultimately depletes it reserves and creates a burgeoning accumulation of stationary wastes. The limited amount of space available on Earth is evidence of this folly of design. Recognizing the eloquent movement of value-based essentials through compartmentalized functioning ecosystems, the circular economy principle is a strategy for success. Adapting to a changing climate of feed-back loops provides an opportunity to accept nature’s qualities to redesign our lifestyles, businesses, and government. Embrace change and adapt for the development of a Sustainable World.

Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.

http://www.jazzyeco.com

Bio-inspiration from nature – Valley Light

Natural environments have survived for billions of year on our precious planet and well before people have walked the Earth. Bio-inspiration is a phenomenon where people are inspired by natural processes. You have a very intimate relationship with your Environment. Being still and aware of the natural environment gives you insight into strategies for success. Here is a story called Valley Light that provided me with inspiration when I used multi-sensational awareness while observing nature.

valley

I awoke from a restful sleep well before dawn as I craved to experience the abundance found in the quiet, stillness of the night. The outdoor hot-tub beaconed me to enter into its warm as the inviting waters protected me from the frozen landscape. The valley was hidden in the darkness yet porch-lights noted the homesteads that were but a speck in the expansive terrain. There was peace, tranquility, and security cradling my spirit. My thoughts were carried away too understand the experiences of a lifetime of growth while I relaxed in my meditation.

The air was filled with moisture as tender dew drops condensed in the cold temperatures and caressed my cheeks. Faint sounds of distant wildlife echoed their movement. Rich musty smells allowed me to recognize that life still existed in the extreme conditions found in the chilled winter environment.

The morning signaled its arrival as a soft light slowly illuminated the sky from behind a distant mountain. A valley fog became visible with the coming of the dawn. There was a fine line separating the dark from the light that slowly moved down from the sky as the night transformed into the day. It amazed me to watch this extraordinary boundary creep down the mountain side that was positioned across the valley from the lights origin. This interface crossed my presence, and in the time used to issue a breath, my world was transformed.

The sounds of birds rejoiced the arrival of the sun that dissolved the mist and warmed the air. A light wind moved throughout the trees to awaken the living. The orchestrated sounds of roosters announced the coming of the day. I became aware that in a moments time my life may be transformed when I am still and active my senses to greet the blessings that cross path.

Enjoy Your Week,

Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.

http://www.jazzyeco.com

 

MOTHERS, BABIES, AND ENVIRONMENT

            Can you image the difference in how you would feel if you were sitting by an open window during rush-hour traffic surrounded by buildings and concrete, or sitting on a bench by a clear lake graced with the sounds of birds and a gentle breeze moving through the forest? There is growing evidence supporting your being plagued by the subtle, negative perceptions of stress, nausea, and uneasy feelings when engulfed by urban environments. Air, water, and soil quality and building conditions found in the built environment have been correlated with a mother’s health and her birth outcomes. Solutions may be found by associating with plants.

The negative forces found in a poor quality environment reach deep within the body to influence miscarriages, preterm birth, low birth weight, and ill health found in both mother and child (4). Parts of an urban, built environment include buildings and pollution. Human behavior may be influenced with conditions found in artificial, human settings that drive the success of birth outcomes.     

            The built environment is one where there is a high concentration of people, vehicles, and buildings that absorb and release heat, gases, and pollutants. The addition of rich green-space buffers the waste streams found in asphalt and concrete cities. A series of cause-and-effect relationships prompted by feedback loops sets the stage for the quality of life for you and your child. Poor birth outcomes are one of the leading causes in childhood death and are linked to adult illnesses (2).

The atmosphere is filled with chemical and particles. The survival of life is dependent upon some chemical compounds, such as oxygen. Some chemicals and particles may accumulate to a point where the air becomes a mixture that is hazardous to your health. Carbon, ozone, and nitrogen are chemicals that form toxic pollutants found in the air and are associated with negative birth outcomes, such as preterm births and newborn heart defects (4).

Particulate matter is released into the atmosphere from urban traffic, construction, and exposed soil. The particles found in the air impacts maternal health and birth outcomes in mice. Studies conducted on mice reveal that atmospheric particulate matter may reduce the number of fertile cycles over time (6). As a result, longer periods of time are needed for a woman to conceive and her fertility rate is reduced due to the suspended particles in the air. There was a lower birth weight when the mother was exposed to the contaminated air before becoming pregnant and after conception (6).

Many types of natural disasters are coupled with flooding events, such as hurricanes and thunderstorms. Mother’s that become exposed to the extreme weather conditions may become stressed. Water washes over the landscape and becomes mixed with chemicals, litter, and other wastes. Flooding from a major hurricane resulted in spontaneous abortions up to a year after the incidence and pesticides that have entered into drinking water, and consumed by the mother, resulted in preterm birth and low birth weight (4).

Pesticides and other organic chemicals are used to exterminate plants and insects when released onto the landscape or fed to livestock. The compounds enter the food chain when animals feed on contaminated plants, insects, and animals. The chemicals accumulate within animals as toxins pass through the food chain, such a cow devouring treated grasses. Human consume toxic chemicals from the food they eat. Your child is at risk to the toxins when the chemicals have been found to pass through the placental membrane (5). Scientific inquiry shows that when the presences of pesticides and organic chemicals are found in mothers then the result may have negative impacts on fetal growth (4).

The state of the built environmental has been linked to negative reproductive outcomes. A mother that is exposed to unstable conditions may become stressed or is unable to create a healthy lifestyle pattern. Conditions found in and around homes and property; vacancy rates and ownership status; and criminal activities and troubling situations have a direct relationship on preterm birth and low birth weight. The greatest impact occurs with damage found in the housing aspect of your neighborhood.

The mother’s behavior does have a direct relationship on negative outcomes with her reproductive success. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and drugs offers the opportunity to experience a miscarriage, preterm birth, and low birth weight (4). You may prevent impacts on your unborn child by being involved in quality behavior choices and maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. You do have the freedom to make quality choices knowing that the conditions found in your neighborhood may influence negative behavior (2). The situations found in your neighborhood has been found to create stress, unhealthy weight gain, and influence you to partake in smoking (1).

Healthy food choices while pregnant will provide you with a sense of comfort that you are doing a great job while carrying your unborn child. Work with professionals to determine an acceptable amount of weight gain while pregnant. A complex cause-and-effect relationship between weight gain during pregnancy coupled with exposure to environmental pollutants has been found to impact the growth the unborn child (5). The survival of your infant may be directly related to your diet (4).  

If you must remain in an urban environment then used plants to improve the conditions for you and your child. When a mother’s home is surrounded by the presence of green, living super forces then there is a greater chance of giving birth to a newborn baby with a higher birth weight (4). Plants have the ability to purify the air, remove pollutants from water, and provide you with an experience that improves well-being. The outcome may be connected to improved air quality, increased level of physical activity exercise, or both (1). When you live near green spaces then you tend to exercise more often, experience less stress, and are involved in more social activity. The rate of smoking among pregnant women is reduced in relation to increased physical activity (1). Physical activity coupled with good nutrition has many benefits for birth outcomes and may reduce childhood obesity (3).

There are many conditions that are found in your environment that impact the quality of your birth outcome. Toxins in your air, water, food, and landscape may enter your body and, as a result, impact your birth outcome and your child. Conditions found in your built neighborhood may impact your blood pressure, stress level, and lifestyle choices. Engaged in unhealthy behaviors directly relates to the health of the child you are harboring in your body. Lifestyle choices includes additive behaviors and the types and amount of food you consume. Consult an expert for the best weight gain strategy that fits your unique self. An excellent approach to improve your birth outcome is to engage with and live near green spaces.  

Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.

http://www.jazzyeco.com

 

References

1 Messer, LC, LC Vinikoor-Imler, and BA Laraia. 2012. Conceptualizing neighborhood space: consistency and variation of associations for neighborhood factors and pregnancy health across multiple neighborhood units. Health & Place. Vol. 18:4. Pgs. 805-813.

2 Miranda, Marie Lynn, Lynne C. Messer, and Gretchen L. Kroeger. 2012. Associations between the Quality of the Residential Built Environment and Pregnancy Outcomes among Women in North Carolina. Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol. 120:3. Pgs. 471-477.

3 Tennant, Giséle. 2014. Preventing Childhood Obesity by Managing Pregnancy Weight Gain. International Journal of Childbirth Education. Vol.29:2. Pgs. 41-45.

4 United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2013. Eco-Health Relationship Browser. http://www.epa.gov/research/healthscience/browser/index.html

5 Vafeiadi, Marina, Martine Vrijheid, Eleni Fthenou, Georgia Chalkiadaki, Panu Rantakokko, Hannu Kiviranta, Soterios A. Kyrtopoulos, Leda Chatzi, and Manolis Kogevinas. 2014. Persistent organic pollutants exposure during pregnancy, maternal gestational weight gain, and birth outcomes in the mother-child cohort in Crete, Greece (RHEA study). Environmental International. Vol. 64. Pgs. 116-123.

6 Veras, Mariana Matera, Nilsa Regina Damaceno-Rodrigues, Rosane Maria Guimarães Silva, Julia Nogueira, Paulo H. Nascimento Saldiva, Elia Garcia Caldini, and Marisa Dolhnikoff. 2009. Chronic exposure to fine particulate matter emitted by traffic affects reproductive and fetal outcomes in mice. Environmental Research. Vol. 109:5. Pgs. 536-543.

THE COMPLEXITY OF HEAT-STROKES

DSCF0122                If you become physically over-heated, it may be lethal. Early symptoms alert you to the onset of heat-stroke or hypothermia with feelings of exhaustion and you crave water from being dehydrated (9). The elderly, children, athletes, military personnel, and those that have jobs that place them outdoors in stressful conditions, beware. Construction workers, farmers, and miners must take precautions. You are more susceptible to this treatable illness if you have recently had an infection, such as pneumonia or influenza (2). This heat related illness may find you while involved in physical activities or become overwhelmed by the conditions found in your environment. If you are feeling any threats of heat-stroke, seek medical attention immediately.

            You are unique by how much heat you produce when involved in physical activities, such as running (1). Monitoring your body temperature allows you to take action to prevent death. Anyone can be plagued with heat-stroke when your body temperature reaches 104° Fahrenheit. Due to the dangers of heatstroke, traditional heart rate and rectal temperature checks were used to gauge your body’s heat strain. Non-invasive techniques are becoming trendy to judge the nature of the body, such as skin temperature sensor with heat-flux sensor (3) and urine thermometers (5).

There are preventions you may take to ensure your safety when physically active. You may foster your well-being by drinking water frequently, take a 5 minute time-out in the shade, and do the research on the environmental conditions you choosing to embrace (8). If critical action is needed, relief may be found by being dowsed or immersed in cold water to help lower your body temperature (7). Remember to practice the buddy system and let someone know of your plans.  

Environmental conditions are changing and prolonged or extreme temperatures and humidity puts you at risk to hypothermia. Climate change and urban ecosystems may cause havoc to your well-being. Worldwide temperatures are rising due to climate changing conditions and scientific inquiry lets you know that “excessive daily heat exposure” has a direct effect on heat stroke (6).

The Environmental Protection Agency describes the urban ecosystem as a dynamic landscape designed with both human built and natural elements. The human built elements tend to capture and reradiate the sun’s energy to create an Urban Heat Island effect. Large amounts of air pollution is generated and, with an atmospheric inversion, the haze of pollution is suppressed within the cities. These conditions create extreme heat events. The outcome of heat-waves include anxiety, stress, dehydration, exhaustion, increased mortality, and realized mental disorders.

Your activities results in releasing heat into the environment through transportation, food choices, and energy demands. Concrete and asphalt urban land cover leaves you with a haze of polluted air and increasing day and nighttime temperatures. These environmental conditions offers a one-way road to heatstroke (4).

There are remedies that may be used to combat the Urban Heat Island effect. Take immediate action to prevent climate change by transitioning towards renewable energy sources, be involved in energy efficient strategies, re-invent food ecosystems, and redesign urban infrastructure.

Invigorating an urban environment with green space decrease daytime temperatures. Trees, shrubs, and grasses shade the surfaces that absorb heat, release moisture into the air, filter and sequester atmospheric pollution. There is less of a demand for energy used in cooling buildings. Green walls, roofs, and patios spice up buildings. Community gardens, parks, and hanging baskets flavor the urban ecosystem. The presence of the living green critters infuses your world with a solar-powered air processing system that appeals to the senses and restores life into your ecosystem for increased well-being.

Hypothermia is one of the leading causes of death to individuals that are involved in outdoor and strenuous activities. Children and elderly may not be able to escape the symptoms of life-threatening rising body temperatures. Taking an active role in being informed about how your life choices and environmental conditions may pose a risk to your well-being is essential to prevent heat illnesses. Climate changing conditions and Urban Heat Island effect increases your risk of heat stroke. You may be a dynamic partner in a dance of well-being through responsible, conscious life choices and greening up your ecosystem. Create the life that supports your joy.

Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.

http://www.jazzyeco.com

REFERENCES

1 Arsac, Laurent, Veronique Deschodt-Arsac, and Jean-René Lacour. 2013. Influence of individual energy cost on running capacity in warm, humid environments. European Journal of Applied Physiology. Vol. 113:10. Pgs. 2587-2594.

2 Carter III, Robert, Samuel N. Cheuvront, and Michael N. Sawka. 2007. A Case Report of Idiosyncratic Hyperthermia and Review of U.S. Army Heat Stroke Hospitalizations. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. Vol. 16:3. Pgs. 238-243

3 Gunga, Hanns-Christian, Mariann Sandsund, Randi E. Reinertsen, Frank Sattler, and Jochim Koch. 2008. A non-invasive device to continuously determine heat strain in humans. Journal of Thermal Biology. Vol.33:5. Pgs. 297-307.  

4 Huang, Hong, Ryozo Ooka, and Shinsuke Kato. 2005. Urban thermal environment measurements and numerical simulation for an actual complex urban area covering a large district heating and cooling system in summer. Atmospheric Environment. Vol. 39:34. Pgs. 6362-6375.

5 Kawanami, Shoko, Seichi Horie, Jinro Inoue, and Makiko Yamashita. 2012. Urine temperature as an index for the core temperature of industrial workers in hot or cold environments. International Journal of Biometeorology. Vol. 56:6. Pgs. 1025-1031.

6 Kjellstrom, T and A.J. McMichael. 2013. Climate change threats to population health and well-being: the imperative of protective solutions that will last. Global Health Action. Vol. 6. Pg. 20816.

7 Mazerolle, Stephanie M., Danielle E. Pinkus, Douglas J. Casa, Brendon P. McDermott, Kelly D. Pagnotta, Roberto C. Ruiz, Lawrence E. Armstrong, and Carl M. Maresh. 2011. Evidence-Based Medicine and the Recognition and Treatment of Exertional Heat Stroke, Part II: A Perspective From the Clinical Athletic Trainer. Journal of Athletic Training. Vo. 46:5. Pgs. 533-542.

8 Petitti, Diana B., Sharon L. Harlan, Gerardo Chowell-Puente, and Darren Ruddell. Occupation and Environmental Heat-Associated Deaths in Maricopa County, Arizona: A Case-Control Study. PLOSONE. Vol. 8:5. E62596.

9 United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2013. Eco-Health Relationship Browser. http://www.epa.gov/research/healthscience/browser/index.html

YOUR ENVIRONMENT AND YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Health care costs may be challenging your financial security. Ill health may be preventing you from working. Tending to a sick child or loved one may be reducing your ability to be productive while neglecting others tasks for survival. Any of these situations creates a bit of stress in your life and stress is one of the factors that leads to high blood pressure. Other risk factors include overweight, smoking, consuming a lot of salt, drinking alcohol, age, and genetics (7). In reality, stress can lead to addictive behavior, such as overeating, smoking, and drinking alcohol. There is a cyclic network of cause-and-effect that creates a merry-go-round in your life and high blood pressure is the cost of the ride. The question is where to you get off the ride?

To keep things simple, blood pressure is assumed to be similar to hypertension in this report. About 30% of adults live with high blood pressure (7). Children may also experience increased blood pressure, yet your risk increases with maturity.

Breakthrough research reveals that when you reside in an urban ecosystem, you may find yourself troubled with higher blood pressure than if you chose to live in the suburbs or in a rural environment (4). There may be other factors found in the urban ecosystem that adds weight to hypertension symptoms, such as pollution. Those pesky particles that pollute the air, such as dust, increase your blood pressure (7). The urban landscape houses a degree of noise pollution that buffer the sounds of wildlife that may be present. Prolonged exposure to noise may increase blood pressure in men (3).

Over time, your choice to visit the wide selection of fast-food outlets that are filled with delicacies and litter the urban landscape are significantly associated with an increase in blood pressure (6). You may walk to fast food venues to reduce the impacts from your food choices. Engaging in activities found in high-walkable neighborhoods reduce the risk of hypertension. These conditions cause stress and relief may be found through an improved recovery rate blessed by nature (2) and, for the mature adults, sharing quality time with a dog (5).

The Environmental Protection Agency offered some valuable numbers to aid you in taking control of your blood pressure dilemma. It is important to note the conditions found in your environment since exercising without green space may increase your blood pressure by 6%. Light to moderate exercise may reduce hypertension by 3% to 7% when viewing a rural, pleasing landscape. Increased physical activity in a forest or park may reduce stress by 87%. Even sitting in a room with a window view of a tree ensures a degree of hypertension relief than if you stare at the walls.

Anne Bolen from the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) reported that submersion into green spaces revitalizes your physical, psychological, and social well-being and creates a faster recovery from high blood pressure (1). You actually form a relationship with your environment suggested in the Attention Restoration Theory. Directed or involuntary attention can either cause fatigue and lower your productivity or fascinate and calm you, respectively. Viewing green spaces entices you with a gentle, engaging time-out. “Nature-deficit disorder” plagues children that tend to spend about seven or more hours with electronic media and less than seven minutes of unstructured play outdoors. The NWF’s Schoolyard Habitat education program has awarded more than 9,650 garden grants and reached about 1.6 million youths to teach environmental stewardship and teamwork activities.              

Individuals that choose to partake in risky behaviors or live in urban ecosystems may be faced with high blood pressure challenges. The risks factors increase your chances of embracing hypertension as you mature. Conditions found in urban environments tend to offer you stress factors and food choices that contribute to your high blood pressure. You may improve your well-being by seizing the opportunity to walk or exercise. The improvements are strengthened by green spaces. Dive into the opportunities offered by the National Wildlife Federation to green-up schools, educate community members, and improve your well-being. Your environmental stewardship activities will be gratefully appreciated with the bio-diverse species that are a part of your World – guaranteed.

REFERENCES

1 Bolen, Anne. 2012. Healing Gardens. National Wildlife (World Edition). 00280402. Vol. 50:2.

2 Brown, Daniel K., Jo L. Barton, and Valerie F. Gladwell. 2013. Viewing Nature Scenes Positively Affects Recovery of Autonomic Function Following Acute-Mental Stress. Environmental Science & Technology. Vol. 47:11. Pgs. 5562-5569.

3 Chang, Ta-Yuan, Bing-Fang Hwang, Chiu-Shong Liu, Ren-Yin Chen, Ven-Shing Wang, Bo-Ying Bao, and Jim-Shoung Lai. 2013. Occupational Noise Exposure and Incident Hypertension in Men: A Prospective Cohort Study. American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 177:8. Pgs. 818-825.

4 Estes, Maurice G., Mohammad Z. Al-Hamdan, William Crosson, Sue M. Estes, Dale Quattrochi, Shia Kent, and Leslie Ain McClure. 2009. Use of Remotely Sensed Data to Evaluate the Relationship between Living Environment and Blood Pressure. Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol. 117:12. Pgs. 1832-1838.

5 Friedman, Erika, Sue A. Thomas, Son Heesook, Deborah Chapa, and Sandra McCune. 2013. Pet’s Presence and Owner’s Blood Pressure during the Daily Lives of Pet Owners with Pre- to Mild Hypertension. Anthrozoos. Vol. 26:4. Pgs 535-550.

6 Li, Fuzhong, Peter Harmer, Bradley J. Cardinal, and Naruepon Vongjaturapat. 2009. Built environment and changes in blood pressure in middle aged and older adults. Preventive Medicine. Vol. 48:3. Pgs. 237-241.

7 United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2013. Eco-Health Relationship Browser. http://www.epa.gov/research/healthscience/browser/index.html

URBAN ECOSYSTEM AIR QUALITY IMPACTS YOUR HEALTH

Global Warming and Climate change have become very popular phenomenon as of late. Many people are jumping in to play the game of “What is going on with our environment?”. We are now in agreement that an ecosystem (interacting life forms with their environment) impacts your health.

Ecosystem Health Theory is the name used to describe this agreement where natural or human activities may cause negative health outcomes (7). One such outcome are respiratory illnesses. To help you with your eco-literacy skills I offer you a brief educational picture into the Scientific Inquiry process used to define a hypothesis or a theory.  

Scientific Inquiry 101: Hypothesis is used when an individual has a bright idea yet others are not quite sure if the idea is real. Scientist love to debate, and discuss, and analyze ideas and hypothesize during long, deep conversations. If you can imagine a room of people that are specialist in their own right, waving their hands in all directions, and offering their expertise about a topic. An expert position may sound like a foreign language where only the specialist is able to understand the dialog.

The key strategy is to create a hypothesis statement, design the test, and run one or many experiments. The test results must meet strict statistical analysis to let the numbers tell the story. The more numbers the better. My Ph.D. data set had over 4,000 rows and about 10 columns in an excel spreadsheet for me to find trends in my study. Thank goodness for the programs designed to run the statistics. A Hypothesis may then be elevated to the status of a Theory after much debate and testing. Rigorous testing that must meet the approval of supporters and deniers of the hypothesis. Now when you read the words Ecosystem Health Theory, you know that we are talking serious business.

You may have an interest on how an urban ecosystem impacts your health. Urban simply means an area that is composed of both artificial human-made and naturally created environmental ingredients. Air pollution, noise levels, traffic patterns, and green space ingredients within the built ecosystem impacts your health (7). Attempting to design a useable model that includes all the features offers a window into the complexity of the urban ecosystem.

It is similar to an automobile that is a composite instrument of mechanical parts. You do not need to know how the whole mechanical system works. All you need to know is how to drive the car to get you where you want to go. You do not need to know all about the bits and pieces of the urban ecosystem. What will help you to adapt and survive is to know which parts of the urban ecosystem makes you un-healthy and which parts improve your well-being.    

Respiratory infections and illnesses are a major health problem that prevent you from being productive, increases your visits to health professionals, stops you from going to work or school, and causes death. There are emotional connections to children so many health studies involve the young’uns. Scientists have discovered that low social class, illiterate mothers, overcrowding, smoking by those who live in the home, or pollution released from fuel sources increase the risk of respiratory illnesses in children (6). Stress factors and perceptions related to lower socio-economic groups have been found to increase the danger of experiencing respiratory challenges in urban ecosystems (4).

Other hazardous factors that impact respiratory illness in young children results from living close to highways, pets in the home, decorating the home, dampness, and cleaning a child’s room more than once a day (3). This same study found that airing bed linin in the sun and breast feeding more than three months improves children’s health. At a time when Climate Change conditions have increased the number and frequency of natural disasters, it is helpful to know that a flooded home or extra-ordinary dampness creates a risk factor for respiratory challenges (1). It is essential to find solutions to ecosystem health challenges as more land is being developed into urban ecosystems.

The mysterious benefits generously offered by green critters provide relief from respiratory distress. The complexity of your urban ecosystem makes it difficult to know the exact details on how urban land-use effects your health. It has been found that increasing the amount of ‘green space’ reduces respiratory illness mortality rates in males (5), although the results may be impacted by a male’s perception of the natural ecosystem. The facts are reveling themselves in another study where more greening of the landscape reduces the onset of respiratory troubles with infants that are exposed to traffic-related and other urban pollutions (2).

It is very well-known that industry, urban environments, and motor vehicles increase the concentrations of atmospheric hazardous pollution and is destroying the quality of the air you breathe (8). The relief is in the solar boosted, dynamic, atmospheric filtrating powerhouse modeled by the green trees, bushes, mosses, algae, and any green life form you are able to discover in your ecosystem. These magnificent green organisms ease and lighten respiratory suffering, lower health-care cost, and lessen days missed from work and school.

Up to or more than 20% of the atmospheric pollutants may be sucked out of the air depending on the number of trees or amount of green space that may be found in your ecosystem (8). The Environmental Protection Agency reports where beautifying roadsides and highways with greenbelts may reduce up to 65% of particles floating within the air. Best results have been realized with deciduous broadleaf trees that thrive during the Spring and Summer. In addition, green walls and green roofs bids relief by absorbing pollutants and decrease energy costs needed to maintain comfortable indoor climates.  

How the environmental ecosystem impacts your health is becoming well-known. Scientific inquiry has elevated a hypothesis into the Ecosystem Health Theory to advance an understanding of the urban ecosystem. Respiratory illnesses are irritated by many ingredients found in an urban ecosystem. Solutions may be experienced by adding the incredible green air processing, natural machines that purify your air. I challenge you to be an environmental steward and discover ways to increase the green space in your ecosystem.    

Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.

My goal to help you improve your well-being and increase your realized wealth. Receive a Free Report and be the first to know about my forthcoming book release at www.jazzyeco.com.

Jump over to my Facebook Fan Page and give a like. https://www.facebook.com/jazzyeco.

 

REFERENCES

1 Azuma, Kenichi, Koichi Ikeda, Naoki Yanagi, Kenichi Hasegawa, and Haruki Osawa. 2014. Effects of water-damaged homes after flooding: health status of the residents and the environmental risk factors. International Journal of Environmental Health Research. Vol. 24:2. Pps 158-175.

2 Ebisu, Keita, Theodore R. Holford, Kathleen D. Belanger, Brian P. Leaderer, and Michelle L. Bell. 2011. Urban land-use and respiratory symptoms in infants. Environmental Research. Vol.111:5. Pgs. 677-684.

3 Li, Angui, Yuexia Sun, Zhijian Liu, Xiaoxia Xu, Hongfa Sun, and Jan Sundell. 2014. The influence of home environmental factors and life style on children’s respiratory health in Xi’an. Chinese Science Bulletin. Vol. 59:17. Pgs. 2024-2030.

4 Quinn, M.P.H., Kelly, Jay S. Kaufman, Ph.D., Arjumand Siddiqi, Sc.D., and Karin B. Yeatts, PhD. 2010. Parent Perceptions of Neighborhood Stressors Are Associated with General Health and Child Respiratory Health Among Low-Income, Urban Families. Journal of Asthma. Vol. 47. Pgs. 281-289.

5 Richardson, EA and R. Mitchell. 2010. Gender differences in relationships between urban green space and health in the United Kingdom. Social Science & Medicine (1982). Vol. 71:3. Pgs. 568-75.

6 Sharma, Dhananjaya, Kumaresan Kuppusamy, and Ashok Bhoorasamy. 2014. Prevalence of Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) and their determinants in under five children in urban and rural areas of Kancheepuram District, South India. Annals of Tropical Medicine & Public Health. Vol. 6:5. Pgs. 513-518.

7 Tarocco, S., I. Amoruso, and G. Caravello. 2011. Holistic model-based on monitoring of the human health status in an urban environment system: pilot study in Verona city, Italy. Journal Of Preventive Medicine And Hygiene. Vol. 52:2. Pgs. 73-82.

8 United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2013. Eco-Health Relationship Browser. http://www.epa.gov/research/healthscience/browser/index.html

SIMPLE STRATEGIES TO PREVENT OBESITY

What if I told you that your freedom of choice is restricted by where you choose to live? In each day and in every moment, you make choices that impact your lifestyle. Many of you are very proud of the fact that you have the freedom of choice. However, inquisitive epigenetic scientists have concluded that it is the environment where you live that regulates your choices and your body (2,5). Your environment is designed to provide convenience, zoned for cluster development, and built to accommodate combustion engines, such as automobiles. These environmental design strategies orchestrates lifestyles that caters to obesity (3).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) characterizes obesity as a preventable disease where an individual has a high level of body mass index (BMI), one that is exceptionally overweight, and a disease that increases the risk of premature death. You have the power to shift your environmental pressures that contribute to obesity. There are simple strategies that may be put into place to improve your health and well-being, guaranteed.    

The 20th century has been marred by a massive transformation of the landscape that offer perceived benefits for you and your family, such as convenience, marketing, and a network of transportation avenues. Neighborhoods provide a practical design for luxurious living and convenient municipal services, such as waste treatment and the electrical grid. Commercial zoning creates a central location for grocery stores, fast food restaurants, fueling stations, and public schools. These communities where you live and spend precious time dictates your lifestyle and physical activities.

The 2001 Department of Transportation National Household Travel Survey determined that 70% of children’s excursions occur in cars and that there has been a decline in personal walking activities since 1977. With the sprawl of urban development, cars have become the primary mode of transportation. The choice to partake in physical activities normally involves strategic planning and coordinating schedules. The environmental quality continues to degrade due to hazardous gases released from a massive array of combustion engines that litter the environment.

Combustion engines burn petroleum and release massive amounts of polluting toxic gases into your precious air space. Automobiles, vans and trucks are required to deliver you, products, food, and stuff to the wealth of businesses that compete for your attention. The noisy engines are found in mowers, blowers, and other landscape management tools. One particular toxic gas are cyclic hydrocarbons that have been found to place babies as risk of becoming obese when that pregnant mothers are exposed to this pollutant.

A very basic understanding on how your World is impacting your freedom of choice provides a breakthrough opportunity to redesign your lifestyle and environment to reduce the obesity epidemic. Simple approaches to transforming your World involves co-mingling a rich diversity of exuberant, living, green organisms into your environment and reducing your reliance on combustion engines that drive your lifestyles.

An increase is physical activity is significantly associated with urban landscapes that house greater amounts of green space. “People that live close to green spaces may visit them more frequently and thus increase their time spent in physical activity” (4). The more time spent in stimulating physical activity increases your heart rate variability that reduces the risk of being obese (1).

The choice to design ways of welcoming in a source of healthy green tangible wealth is as vast as the imagination. Create an educational experience in collaboration with schools to fill the indoor and outdoor educational environments with growing food, herbs, and potted science projects. Incorporating green roofs, walls, and highway landscapes provide an abundance of convenient urban benefits, such as sun powered air filtration systems. Invent marketable products that provide a way to increase the urge to move about in a landscape of green eye candy.

Reduce the demand on petroleum fueled combustion engines that taint the extremely valuable air quality essential for your survival. Stewardship watch groups may form to design alternatives to traditional transportation choices and landscape management strategies. Transform your yard into a low maintenance composition of native, edible plant species that are well adjusted to the climate. Line road ways and sidewalks with vertical green powerhouses, fill abandoned areas with mini green forests, and create visual appealing green areas near the living spaces of the elderly and handicapped. Innovate ways to support the needs of your urban infrastructure to reduce the release of hazardous gases and increase the air processing venues.

Recall your freedom of choice to put you in control of how you choose to manage your physical activity and control the release of hazardous gases to prevent obesity. Cost effective approaches that include creating more green space and reducing dependence on combustion engines to manage your life encourages a creative force to reduce obesity. You hold a source of power that is readily available through the power of choice. I challenge to you to make the choice, share your creations, and be a part of the movement towards increased well-being and health.

        

REFERENCES

1 Institute of Heart Math. Science of the Heart: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance. An Overview of Research Conducted by the Institute of HeartMath. http://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/entrainment-coherence-autonomic-balance.html

2 Jackson, PhD, Fatimah L.C., Mihai D. Niculescu, MD, PhD, and Robert T. Jackson, PhD. 2013. Conceptual Shifts Needed to Understand the Dynamic Interactions of Genes, Environment, Epigenetics, Social Processes, and Behavioral Choices. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 103:51. Pgs. 533-542.

3 Krisberg, Kim. 2006. Designing heathier communities for kids: Built environment adding to burden of childhood obesity. The Nation’s Health. January/February.

4 United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2013. Eco-Health Relationship Browser. http://www.epa.gov/research/healthscience/browser/index.html

5 Zurich, ETH. 2009. Epigenetics: DNA Isn’t Everything. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090412081315.htm

 

ENVIRONMENTAL INTERACTIONS IMPROVES YOUR PHYSICAL WELL-BEING

Have you ever watched the trees transform the landscape by changing their regalia from emerald green to crimson red, opulent orange, or golden yellow in response to the chilling fall temperatures? Or have you been charmed by the gentle scent of the captivating purple, flowering lilacs during the warming spring days? Biophilia is a term used to describe the sense of attraction and feelings of harmony while engaged with natural environments. The appeal is Universal and a fresh, clean ecosystem drives your body towards improved health.

There are realized benefits achieved through natures mysteries while liberating yourself into the embrace of the natural environment. On a deep level, your physical-self responds in subtle ways that leads to enhanced well-being and improved health. You may be relieved of symptoms of obesity, respiratory illness, high blood pressure, and heat stroke. A rich green, bio-diverse ecosystem improves pregnancy outcomes, mental acuity, and immune response resiliency.

Over the next seven weeks, I will guide you on an insightful journey on how your environment impacts each of the physical challenges listed above. Week One unfolds with an awareness of how your weight is regulated by your choice of environment. Week Two reveals how your body responds to the quality of air that you draw into your being and moves through your respiratory system. Week Three enlightens you on the physical relief achieved through the gentle embrace of Mother Nature that reduces stress and blood pressure. Week Four dives into how the presence of plants and other life forms alters environmental temperatures and provides a welcomed relief to heat.

In Week Five we jump into information on how environmental conditions nurtures the self to nurture your offspring during pregnancy. Week Six opens up a window into how a diversity rich ecosystem provide you with the opportunity to engage your senses into a multi-sensational association with natural systems. Week Seven issues forth an invitation into a world of cause-and-effect feedback where your body responds to the riches found in the diversity of the living to improve you immunities.

You may have first-hand knowledge or know of someone that is burdened with one or more of these physical challenges. Feel free to share this information as we venture into the reality that you are continuously interacting with your environment and how these interactions impact your well-being. Understanding how the natural environment generously offers valuable products and services for your well-being, improved productivity, and happiness leads you on an adventure of discovery. The information I provide may not benefit everyone, however, taking personal responsibility to enrich the self is the key to successful results.

Sustainable, Green Heart-Centered Natural Awareness Gifts You with Increased Wealth and Greater Health