Green areas in the inner city can directly improve the wellbeing of citizens. The larger the green areas in the neighborhood of the urban citizens are, the higher is the wellbeing. Persons, who reacted to green areas, were found to have a reduced activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
Recently I taught in the Community Psychology program of Meyers College, a program of the Cretin-Derham Hall-University of St. Thomas, University of Saint Thomas. One of the objectives of this course is to use the scientific research into the state of people’s brain to do what I find to be important research.
According to the concept of state of the mind, our mind is a function of how we interact with others. As we become more and more aware, more and more act towards ourselves in certain desired areas, we are aware of the need to pay attention in other areas in order to move forward. This knowledge is known as the correlative hypothesis, “mind juggling”. It is a theory which says that once we get a little bit more aware, we are going to move forward faster.
I came across this concept in a research study done by David L. Nevins in 1982. In this study, there was a pilot program which treated about 400 adults with depression. These individuals were provided with a variety of cognitive practices which would include relaxation techniques and meditation techniques. Subsequently, I will show in the module that the people in this pilot program (which was funded by a generous grant from the National Institute of Mental Health) showed significantly higher results in all three areas.
The pilot program had three components. The first being the guided mediation techniques of the three-day break. The participants were then sent home after a week and told to return to a positive mindset which included returning to feeling positive. All of the children had a chance to complete this portion of the treatment and they all improved with the relaxation techniques.
The next intervention, which I am talking about in the module was a set of sitting exercises that had to do with the selective nerve penetration of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The training involved sitting in a circle, and from those sitting in the circle, helping a member of the circle accomplish tasks designed to activate the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Each member had a set of tasks which he was supposed to complete and others which he was supposed to take. He would then continue to complete tasks in the circle when the surrounding individuals stopped.
The second component of the trial was the relaxation exercises. There were these exercises that I am going to show the DVD of that study. This exercise involved putting two pairs of socks on a pillow and let them glide on top. This exercise had the participants wear an oxygen mask which they were supposed to keep on while standing or sitting in the circle. The rescue person on the pillow would rub the sock from the floor to the pillow and the sock would continue to glide on to the other person.
The third component of the trial was relaxation itself. These were the exercises which consisted of sitting in a circle and relaxing on the chair. These exercises included sitting and rocking and repeating a mantra (The pursuit of happiness in which one pursues the happiness of one’s life. It is written in turn by Bach and others.)
As I say in the first part of the study, the people in the pilot program improved with the treatment and after the week they had only two of the exercises completed. However, after the rest of the training they had 12, mostly standing, exercises completed which made them feel more positive. All of these people would therefore have felt more positive when they were taking a walk. I believe that this is the type of state of mind that can directly affect not only a person’s mental health, but their physical well-being as well.
(This is an excellent article. It provides some great information as it was shared with me at last year’s monthly meeting of the Central Square Medical Center and it also shows how to use this research in your health care. If you are interested in using it in your own clinic, please share this article with your clinic or doctor.)
(Cretin Derham Hall, 612 Ohio Ave, Kansas City, MO 64118)
Also, the latest issue of the Talk about the White House: Journal of Rural Health, was published this month. It is a bimonthly publication which is part of CDC’s National Health Interview Survey for Communities, an ongoing community survey of America’s rural residents.