Taking Micro-Breaks And Seeing Green Improves Mental Concentration

By @hyaluronidase on
Green view
IN PHOTO:A woman reads a book in a rooftop garden of an apartment building overlooking a residential area of Tokyo August 5, 2002. Trapped by concrete and asphalt, heat from heavy traffic and millions of air-conditioning units have made summer in the cities hotter - a phenomenon known as "heat-island effect." By converting a bare roof top into a green oasis, it helps absorb heat and keeps temperatures insidethe building lower. Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

To improve mental concentration, a new study suggests that seeing the colour green would be of great help. Researchers from the University of Melbourne have shown that a 40-second glance on a green roof can improve concentration, 9News Australia reports.

The study, published in May 2015 in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, looked at 150 university students who were given boring tasks as part of the experiment. The task involved pressing a key when numbers flash repeatedly on a computer screen and only stop pressing when the number three appears.

The participants were allowed to go on a 40-second break and were required to look at a city rooftop view. Half of the participants were assigned to look at a lush green roof, while the remaining half looked at a bare concrete roof. When the 40-second break was over, students who looked at the green roof were observed to commit fewer errors and seen to be more focused upon resuming the task compared to the group who only saw the bare concrete roof.

The research concluded that seeing green provided a “restorative experience” that helped boost mental concentration, Sydney Morning Herald reports. "We know that green roofs are great for the environment, but now we can say that they boost attention too. Imagine the impact that has for thousands of employees working in nearby offices," Dr. Kate Lee, lead author of the study, said.

According to Lee, the study is more focused on “micro-breaks”, or short informal breaks that take place spontaneously in a day. She stressed that micro-breaks occur naturally take place whenever a person is stressed.  She also said that there’s a reason why one looks out the window during this short break—it’s because looking at nature can help with concentration and improve work productivity.

"Certainly this study has implications for workplace well-being and adds extra impetus to continue greening our cities,” Lee said in Sydney Morning Herald. Sources state that Lee’s project will test if providing green sights within the workplace can have an effect on the helpfulness and creativity of an employee.

To report problems or leave feedback on this article, email: wendylemeric@gmail.com.

Join the Discussion