For centuries, the color green has been associated with life, health, and nature. As a result of this widespread association between green and positive qualities such as growth, renewal, and prosperity, many people have found this color to be calming, refreshing, and uplifting—especially when used in the home or office.
In this article, we delve into the scientifically-backed psychological benefits of the color green. We then examine how bringing greenery, such as plants, into the workplace can allow you to reap these positive benefits.
The Psychological Impact of the Color Green
Like all colors, green has the ability to influence how people feel or perceive things. From lowering stress levels and increasing creativity to aiding with decision-making and healing, here are 6 of the main ways green impacts our psyche.
1. Green is associated with rest and healing
The color green can help you relax and sleep better, or aid with healing from a medical condition. As a result, green is often used in hospitals because of its calming effect on patients, as well as on the doctors and nurses who work there.
In a well-known study by Roger S. Ulrich, it was found that patients who stayed in hospital rooms with views of trees recovered more quickly than those who stayed in rooms with views of brick walls. Patients who could view the outdoors were discharged from the hospital more quickly, experienced fewer difficulties, and needed less pain medication than those who had to look at a wall.
2. Green lowers stress levels and evokes calmness
Green has a soothing effect on the nervous system, promoting relaxation. A study from the University of Westminster has shown that spending time surrounded by greenery (in what’s known as a “Green Gym”) can boost your mood, reduce anxiety, and lift depression.
Green Gym participants improved their cortisol awakening response by 20 percent and reported that they felt noticeably calmer in their day-to-day life after just 8 weeks of involvement in the program.
3. Green is associated with nature and rebirth
Because green is often associated with nature, spring, and rebirth, it is seen to represent new beginnings and fresh starts.
The positive link with green, according to academics, is built in our brains from evolution. The earliest human beings learned that green in nature signaled a location where they could obtain their most important necessities: food, water, and shelter.
The color green is also closely tied to fertility and birth. Osiris, the ancient Egyptian deity of the underworld, birth, rebirth, agriculture, and fertility, was often depicted with a green face.
4. Green aids with decision-making and productivity
According to several studies, having green tones in your office may reduce burnout, while increasing creativity, productivity, and concentration.
Because of its sense of balance, green is also a color that encourages rational decisions and clear thinking. This is because it stimulates the left side of our brain, where we find our logical thinking skills. Additionally, it lessens eye tiredness, which promotes sustained focus and attentiveness.
5. Green is an optimistic color symbolizing good luck
Around the world, green is frequently associated with good luck. This is because the color symbolizes health, wealth, and prosperity—particularly due to its associations with both nature and money.
There is also strong evidence to suggest these connotations. One study found that those exposed to green were more likely to experience feelings of hope and less likely to feel fear of failure.
6. Green makes us feel more creative
Studies have shown that the color green can stimulate creativity too. In a German study, researchers found that participants performed better on a creative task after briefly gazing at the color green than after looking at other colors, including white, grey, red, and blue.
Additional research also supports the notion that creativity—along with several other positive emotions—can be heightened by exposure to green views of nature and being surrounded by green plants.
The Benefits of Bringing Green Plants into the Workplace
As you discovered in the previous section, many of the positive psychological impacts of green are closely linked to the color’s connection with nature. When you combine benefits such as higher productivity, increased creativity, higher optimism, lower stress levels, and ease of rest and healing with the numerous other positive effects of plants, it’s evident that the advantages for a workplace are two-fold.
NASA's Clean Air Study discovered that plants can greatly improve the quality of indoor air, making it up to 85.8 percent cleaner. According to their research, harmful viruses, bacteria, and organic compounds are destroyed by plant roots and accompanying microorganisms before being converted into new plant tissue.
Additionally, studies have shown that plant-filled living walls can reduce indoor noise pollution by an average of 15 decibels. These findings are particularly significant for workplaces, as excessive noise can cause a lack of focus, decreased productivity, hearing damage, increased stress, headache disorders, and communication difficulties.
Research has also found that foliage in an office can boost staff well-being by up to 47 percent, due to the positive effects it has on a person’s physical health. This is because plants increase the flow of oxygen in the body, lower blood pressure and heart rate, strengthen the immune system, and cleanse the lungs.
Reap the Benefits of Greenery in Your Workplace with a Living Wall
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to enjoy maximum greenery in your workplace is by adding plants to unused interior wall space. Living walls, such as the award-winning Model Z, feature hundreds of beautiful, air-purifying, and sound-reducing plants, thus helping to create a healthier, more productive, and rejuvenating space.
The Model Z also offers ongoing plant care and maintenance, meaning you won’t have to lift a finger in order to keep your office greenery looking—and performing—at its best.