What do you associate with the color green? Money? Envy? Maybe your thoughts go to “little green men” or the universal sign for “go.” But green is also the color of nature, harmony, renewal, and growth. All the good things in life. And never was that more apparent to me than recently.

I just returned from my longest vacation ever: two weeks in Ireland with my husband and daughter. And, believe me, we immediately realized why Ireland has been known as “The Emerald Isle” since Irish poet William Drennan coined the phrase in a 1795 poem.

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From the moment we landed, we were on the move. We started in Dublin and enjoyed the city’s highlights. But we really found our groove when we hit the verdant countryside. Making our way up the western coast, we marveled at the incredible scenery of green hills and fields. And we were awed by the sense of timelessness we experienced as we walked through ancient ruins.

We hiked through grand forests, hugging a few trees along the way. We relaxed at the banks of rivers and on the sands of the Atlantic Ocean.

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And we soaked up a lot of magic. (Green will do that.)

Irish history is full of hardship, betrayal, and oppression. And the Irish people never forget that. Yet, everyone we encountered was unbelievably friendly and welcoming. I suspect that living in such beautiful natural surroundings has had a significant impact on their national healing over the years. I know we felt restored after just two short weeks.

Traveling to Ireland has made me consider how to keep this feeling of “green” alive in my day-to-day life.

Fortunately, I live in Minnesota, one of the greenest places around. But you don’t have to be on the Emerald Isle or in Minnesota to be positively affected by the color green. You can incorporate green into your workday. And you should. You’ll be happier and more productive.

In The Best Place to Work, author Ron Friedman cites various studies that show how much workers benefit from natural landscapes. People with a view of the outdoors actually outperform their counterparts in the workplace. Nature rejuvenates us.

But, if you don’t have access to a window in your office, take heart.

Green plants make us feel happier and more energetic. Even photographs or paintings of nature scenes decrease our anxiety levels and increase our sense of well-being.

Brain studies and psychological research can’t overstate the value of taking breaks. In an ideal world, you’ll be able to take a vacation to somewhere as lovely as Ireland. But, at the very least, take a walk outside. Situate your desk to maximize your view of nature. Buy a few plants. Or simply hang a picture of green rolling hills.

Seek out the green in your life. See what it can do for you. I know it’s done wonders for me.

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”

Pedro Calderon de la Barca

 

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Michelle Kelly, CEO (Chief Enjoyment Officer)

 


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