Want to improve your health immediately and at the same time give your décor a considerable upgrade? Then get some house plants! While it might seem too good to be true, simply adding a few potted plants to your living room or bedroom can actually improve your mental and physical health in a vast number of ways. Read on to learn how and to start benefiting yourself.
It has long been known that plants are good for our mental health and office-based businesses are often advised to have plants around to help prevent stress, cabin fever and even depression.
In one study for instance, it was found that having foliage around the office could help to reduce the symptoms of various psychological problems by as much as 23%. Even complaints of coughing and fatigue were reduced by 30-37% (1).
We have even seen that including plants in the office environment can help to improve creativity among managers (2).
So what’s going on here?
The most popular explanation is that we have evolved to find plants relaxing. This is really because we find foliage relaxing. In the wild, seeing greenery would have meant that we were near an area rich in natural resources. Thus it makes sense that we might have evolved to develop a positive response to these kinds of environments. Indeed, being in urban environments has been shown to slow recovery from stress versus more rural surrounds (3).
On an unconscious level, it seems that when we see the color green – and especially in relation to plants – we feel as though we’re in a safe environment with access to food and resources. As such, we then feel at ease and our physiology reflects this. This in turn can lead to creativity, as we are more creative when relaxed – as creativity requires us to be able to think about different ideas to make novel connections and to come up with new unique ideas. Even the color green on its own has been shown to stimulate feelings of creativity (4).
Additional Health Benefits
As another added benefit, plants also have the ability to clean the air in our homes and to increase the oxygen density. This could in theory help us to sleep better and to feel more energetic and healthy on a regular basis.
That said, there is some doubt surrounding this idea and it may in fact be that the quantity of plants needed to have a noticeable impact on air quality would render this benefit somewhat inert.
But there is one additional health benefit that is not in question – and that’s the therapeutic benefit of having something living to care for. Tending to plants can be a great stress reliever and provides a practical activity that is very rewarding, calming and simple. After a busy day’s work, there are few more relaxing things to come home to. For all these reasons, house plants make a fantastic purchase for anybody struggling with stress, or who is looking to improve their energy levels.