More than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities, and further concentration in urban areas is projected, considering the 80% ratio for the U.S. population as a benchmark.

What is Stress ?

In the urban environment, people are subjected to chronic stress situations during their daily commute or work requirements. It triggers ‘fight or flight’ response through the physiological releases of hormones, such as cortisol, and/or cognitive suppression to re-direct full attention on the task at hand. Such responses, when frequent and prolonged, lead to general tiredness and can negatively affect health if people are unable to apply stress relief techniques.

Neuroscience Stress Relief Techniques

Recent researches focus on green space to improve well-being in different but possibly interrelated ways: 

  • One approach, the Stress Reduction Theory, emphasizes the physiology outcomes of time spent in nature. An automatic process takes place between sensory stimulation, preconscious emotions and logical thought which creates a stress relief meditation mood not dissimilar to yoga or spiritual moment, leading to new perspectives and a new balance of stress / relaxation.
  • Another approach, the Attention Restoration Theory, suggests that green space provide stimulation without the need to maintain concentration, hence restoring the cognitive capacity for attention.

Walking Meditation during Walk in the Park

Observations in hospitals tend to confirm the influence of green spaces.  For examples, surgical patients whose windows faced natural outdoor scenery were discharged sooner and requested fewer painkillers than patients whose windows faced a brick wall.  In another key experiment, artificially stressed people visioning a video of a natural setting had a faster and more complete physiological recovery than those seeing built environments.  Still, meditative walking in the forest increases happiness to a greater degree than walking at the same pace at the gym or viewing virtual nature video.

Wide Green Space are best for Stress Relief

Some green space seem to be more restorative than others.  Large empty landscape with long-distance panorama (more than 400 yards/meters), open sky and natural asymmetry are more effective.  The least relaxing scenery is a small pocket garden, with geometrical paths à la française and enclosed spaces.  While natural smells and sounds associated with pleasant memories provide additional contemplative triggers, brightly colored flowers and numerous eye-catching elements are less soothing. 

Cities Need More Relaxing Scenery 

Just as hospitals need healing green space, cities need serene oases to counteract the urban chaos.  Easy access to relaxing scenery, view of nature from windows, and tree-covered plaza contribute to positive emotions, higher levels of neighborhood satisfaction and social engagement as well as lower crime rates.  Furthermore, urban trees help purifying air, capturing carbon emission and reducing fossil fuel consumption though shading and wind blocking of buildings.  While carbon gases are released back into the atmosphere as trees decay, it is a long process that gives us more time to adapt to climate changes.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it" Marcus Aurelius

Green Space Soundtrack

Stress Relief Meditation


The video sound-

track was inspired

by this collection of

Virginia Astley's

instrumentals, that

takes the listener

through relaxing scenery for an entire day, starting at dawn to the final owl hoot. Beautiful simple music, based on piano, flute, clarinet, bass and all the sounds of nature that you can listen to during your walking meditation.


How to deal with

stress ? Well, enjoy

The Beach, a film

based on Alex

Garland book and

shot on a Thai

island in the

Krabi province

The lush jungles,

fine sands, blue

lagoons and unique

limestone formations will surely provide stress relief... well, until the tropical paradise drama unfold.


Great City Parks is a

comparative study of

twenty significant public

parks in fourteen major

cities across Western

Europe and North America. Collectively,

they give a clear picture

of why green space have been created, how they have been designed, and how they are managed.

Stress Relief is a Walk in the Park

​​12 Quotes on How to Deal with Stress :

Watch Relaxing Scenery

Listen Doing Nothing

The video voice over is based on 12 famous quotes:

- Worrying, keeps you immobilized; Wayne Dyer
- Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle; Bill Phillips
- The purpose of stress is not to hurt you, but to let you know it is time to go back to the heart; Sara Paddison
- The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, and influence; James Allen
- For fast-acting relief, try slowing down; Lily Tomlin
- Calmness is the cradle of power; J.G. Holland
- Do not underestimate the value of doing nothing; Pooh's Little Instruction Book
- Doing nothing is not boring.  It is peace; Milan Kundera
- Dwell on the beauty of life; Marcus Aurelius
- Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better; Albert Einstein
- Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth; Marcus Aurelius
- Our life is what our thoughts make it; Marcus Aurelius

Footage from London, Princeton, New York City and Paris

"No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky"    Bob Dylan

Read on Green Space

Walk in the Park Video

The SpareTag video of relaxing scenery aims to trigger sensory stimulation and restore cognitive capacity. 

For best stress relief experience, you can mute the voice over on the video and play the green space soundtrack.  Enjoy!

Doing Nothing

Read on Green Space

​​Other Creative Thinking Posts:

Watch Relaxing Scenery
Listen to Virginia Astley while doing nothing
The Man Machine Fairy Tale

Watch + read fairy tale about meaning of life at the dawn of artificial intelligence. Will mankind and machines join forces to survive and gain purpose?

Stress Relief is a Walk in the Park