3 of the Best Urban Gardens Around the World
1 in 5 employees are at risk of experiencing workplace burnout, a condition fueled by today’s modern society in which workers are always “on” the job, connected by email, phone and text, even while not physically at work. Symptoms can include fatigue, depression, and trouble sleeping.
Next time you’re stressed, experiencing fatigue, or need a mental break, consider heading outdoors. Research into environmental psychology shows that green spaces have a soothing effect on our emotional and mental well-being. William James, a pioneering researcher in the field, identified two kinds of attention; directed attention and fascination. We use directed attention at work to meet deadlines, reply to emails and engage in brainstorming during meetings. In contrast, fascination is a state of wonderment that allows our brains to rest and form new connections. Environmental psychologist Jane Kaplan, PhD argues that using too much of the former can lead to what they call "directed attention fatigue" and [contributes to] impulsivity, distractibility and irritability…” The inherent fascination of nature can help people recover from this state. We have put together a list of the best parks around the world, so that no matter where you find yourself, you can get some green therapy.
Singapore Botanic Gardens - Singapore
Stroll through the Singapore Botanic Gardens--the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site that will introduce you to over 10,000 species of tropical flora. The gardens include a tropical rainforest, a children's garden, cafes and restaurants, three lakes, and a center for research and cultivation of over 1,200 species of orchids. Unpack a picnic as you lounge on the manicured lawns or, abscond to one of the park’s tucked-away benches for a moment of peace and quiet. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is open from 5 AM to midnight every day of the year, free of charge, though entrance to the National Orchid Garden requires a fee . Your senses will delight in the sounds of waterfalls as you walk past brightly colored flowers emitting divine fragrances in this refined urban oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
Retiro Park - Madrid, Spain
This 350-acre park is located in Madrid, Spain. It was originally created for the Spanish Royal family and opened to the public in the late 1700s. Rent a rowboat for a few euros and paddle across the park’s man-made lake. Stroll through the Rose Garden where you can see more than 4,000 types of roses. Spread throughout are charming fountains and benches, creating a very picturesque scene. The enclosed garden located adjacent to the park is home to a population of peacocks that you may spot while exploring the maze of foliage, trees and ponds that dot the landscape. Before leaving, you can’t miss a visit to the Crystal Palace, an icon in Madrid. This building is nearly completely constructed of glass, and sits on a small lake that’s home to turtles, frogs and ducks.
Golden Gate Park - San Francisco, California
San Francisco needs no introduction. Chances are you’ve been to a conference in San Francisco, or plan to attend one. It has captured the attention of the nation — and the world — for decades. It’s currently known as the home of Silicon Valley, and before that it was the location for the most famous American counterculture movement, the 1967 Summer of Love. The Golden Gate Park spans 1,017 acres in the middle of the city, starting at Haight & Stanyan Street and ending at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The space is a mix of enchanting forest and wild spaces interspersed with public institutions. Visitors to the park can stroll, bike or rollerblade along a number of paths, both paved and unpaved, through Redwood groves, past gardens, memorials, and lakes. Head to the Conservatory of Flowers, a restored Victorian greenhouse from 1879, to see plants from around the world. Sip tea in the Japanese Tea Garden, the oldest public Japanese garden in the U.S., or take a trip to the California Academy of Sciences to view one of the many exhibits including, an aquarium, a butterfly dome, and a planetarium.
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