It turns out that while you thought you were just saving money by taking the room without a window, you may have been accidentally sabotaging your health and good mood. I have always loved living in pre-war buildings with large sunny windows overlooking a courtyard. Though I enjoy turning my bedroom into a cave for sleeping with a combo of blackout curtains and blinds, there is nothing better than throwing open the shades on a sunny day and looking out to see trees, and now science (brought to me by an article I read on The Huffington Post) backs up why. A recent study completed by psychologists at the University of Illinois found that seeing nature from your windows has a positive effect on emotional health, mental acuity, and productivity. People who see green things – be it grass, trees, or flowers – felt healthier, more productive and less aggressive than people who only saw pigeons cooing in an alley, or looked straight into another apartment ‘s wall. Additionally people who had rooms with a view earned higher scores on cognitive function tests. This finding even extended to people recovering from an illness or medical procedure in a hospital. Patients with the option to see trees and visit green spaces experienced lower pain, faster recovery, and increase longevity (read: longer lives).
So if you live in an urban location – like me in NYC! – I think the message is pretty clear. Get yourself to a park! And help to support even more legislation that promotes biodiversity by encouraging or requiring public spaces to use plants native to that area that will thrive and support the local animals and insects. When you’re apartment hunting, hold out for a space that looks out on greenery. Or at the very least, bring the park to your own home. Try planting ferns and wild flowers in plain view to boost your mood, and as an added bonus, house plants are shown to clean the air of harmful toxins for happier days and easier breathing.