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      Green Mind Theory: How Brain-Body-Behaviour Links into Natural and Social Environments for Healthy Habits

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          Abstract

          We propose a Green Mind Theory (GMT) to link the human mind with the brain and body, and connect the body into natural and social environments. The processes are reciprocal: environments shape bodies, brains, and minds; minds change body behaviours that shape the external environment. GMT offers routes to improved individual well-being whilst building towards greener economies. It builds upon research on green exercise and nature-based therapies, and draws on understanding derived from neuroscience and brain plasticity, spiritual and wisdom traditions, the lifeways of original cultures, and material consumption behaviours. We set out a simple metaphor for brain function: a bottom brain stem that is fast-acting, involuntary, impulsive, and the driver of fight and flight behaviours; a top brain cortex that is slower, voluntary, the centre for learning, and the driver of rest and digest. The bottom brain reacts before thought and directs the sympathetic nervous system. The top brain is calming, directing the parasympathetic nervous system. Here, we call the top brain blue and the bottom brain red; too much red brain is bad for health. In modern high-consumption economies, life has often come to be lived on red alert. An over-active red mode impacts the gastrointestinal, immune, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. We develop our knowledge of nature-based interventions, and suggest a framework for the blue brain-red brain-green mind. We show how activities involving immersive-attention quieten internal chatter, how habits affect behaviours across the lifecourse, how long habits take to be formed and hard-wired into daily practice, the role of place making, and finally how green minds could foster prosocial and greener economies. We conclude with observations on twelve research priorities and health interventions, and ten calls to action.

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              A comprehensive review of the placebo effect: recent advances and current thought.

              Our understanding and conceptualization of the placebo effect has shifted in emphasis from a focus on the inert content of a physical placebo agent to the overall simulation of a therapeutic intervention. Research has identified many types of placebo responses driven by different mechanisms depending on the particular context wherein the placebo is given. Some placebo responses, such as analgesia, are initiated and maintained by expectations of symptom change and changes in motivation/emotions. Placebo factors have neurobiological underpinnings and actual effects on the brain and body. They are not just response biases. Other placebo responses result from less conscious processes, such as classical conditioning in the case of immune, hormonal, and respiratory functions. The demonstration of the involvement of placebo mechanisms in clinical trials and routine clinical practice has highlighted interesting considerations for clinical trial design and opened up opportunities for ethical enhancement of these mechanisms in clinical practice.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                30 June 2017
                July 2017
                : 14
                : 7
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
                [2 ]School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK; mike.rogerson@ 123456essex.ac.uk (M.B.); jobarton@ 123456essex.ac.uk (J.B.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: jpretty@ 123456essex.ac.uk
                [†]

                All authors contributed equally to this work.

                Article
                ijerph-14-00706
                10.3390/ijerph14070706
                5551144
                28665327
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Article

                Public health

                green minds, green exercise, nature and health, healthy behaviours

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