Feeling Stressed? Find Some Green.

It’s not easy being green.

That signature line delivered by Jim Henson’s Kermit the Frog, and later covered by Frank Sinatra and countless others, has taken on a variety of meanings over the years. One way the classic Muppets song applies to the world today is the difficulty in finding green areas in urban neighborhoods.

Imagine being a youngster in a low-income family, looking outside and, instead of seeing a tree to climb or grass to play in, being surrounded by man-made structures and the dangers of gang violence.

Earlier this year, research from Stanford University found that growing up in an environment sans nature’s bounty can have a direct impact on a person’s overall physical and mental well-being. The lack of green areas in urban neighborhoods may even impede the maturity of children’s brains and be a factor in their economic decline.

Whether it’s growing up in a rough neighborhood or keeping track of the bills in an upscale community, people of all ages and economic statuses face some form of stress. The best way to combat this is confidence, something we’re here to provide as your financial professional.

Knowing that you’ve received professional advice and have proactively created a plan to secure your financial future as well as that of your family can help relieve anxiety. Through years of saving and hard work, you’ve put yourself in a position where you can enjoy the world around you: taking walks, enjoying a sunset unobstructed by pollution and gazing upon the bloom of flowers.

Several children today are growing up in an environment where those simple pleasures are absent. That’s why some cities have started focusing on restoring green areas in low-income neighborhoods, strategically planting shrubs and trees to screen out busy street noises and reduce the glare from headlights.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Simple Idea That Could Make America’s Poorest Neighborhoods Healthier,” from Think Progress, July 10, 2015.]

For an example of how green spaces can help maintain happiness, even in a financial predicament, just look at what’s happening in Greece. The country’s financial struggles may have city residents in a damper, but those living in the beautiful mountain villages have a bit more hope.

“I have my lettuce, my onions, I have my hens, my birds, I will manage,” one retiree stated after his government pension was cut.

While those who live in outlying areas still feel the effects of shuttered banks and reduced government services, they have a better chance of surviving than city dwellers. In short, they are using age-old tactics that have enabled them to survive wars and natural disasters: chickens and a vegetable patch.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Greek villagers’ secret weapon: Grow your own food,” from The Houston Chronicle, July 3, 2015.]

Then there are traditional stress relievers. We’ve always known they worked, we just didn’t know the science behind them. For example, adult coloring books have recently become de rigueur as a modern-day stress reliever.

Sugar has been proven to reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and hugging releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding.

[CLICK HERE to read, “Colouring books for adults a new way to relieve stress,” from CBC News, July 8, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Sugar as a Stress Reliever,” from The New York Times, April 23, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “7 Reasons Why We Should Be Giving More Hugs,” from The Huffington Post, March 27, 2014.]

These are all great remedies, but the ideal situation is to avoid stressful circumstances to begin with. If you ever have questions about your financial circumstances, feel free to give us a call.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

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