The drawing above show just how complex the wiring is in our retina leading off to the optic nerve. 


As I’ve been familiarising myself  into how we see and why green spaces instil in us beautiful feelings of  wellbeing, it seems we have two ways of seeing – the regular visual pathway that most of us will be familiar with but there is also another separate way of seeing called the non-visual pathway. This non-visual pathway causes physiological affects on brains and central nervous systems .


The drawing below shows cones on right and rods on the left.


The Non-visual pathway begins in our retina where the rods and cones are situated. Our cones are not only colour  light sensitive but also are sensitive to particular wavelengths sensitive.  The retinal cells are are selectively sensitive to  wavelengths of green light and blue colours which are towards the shorter wavelength end of our visible spectrum.  When in green spaces, green wavelength signals are sent to the hypothalamus situated deep inside our brain which secretes a hormone called  oxytocin. The magic hormone oxytocin has the effect of stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system thus putting us into wonderful calm states. Physiologically our blood pressure and heart rate reduce and  our social bonding improves as we trust more and our levels of anxiety reduce. Therefore, our wonderful non-visual pathway is responsible for instilling in us a sense of wellbeing when immersed in nature.

To feel calm  lets go for more walks in nature!