6 Ways How Plants Can Boost Your Mental Health & Wellness

In an urban setting with a very fast paced and monotonous lifestyle, life has come to a halt due to the corona pandemic. We are spending most of our times at home. This is a rare satiation that the world is going through when billions of people are fully or partially locked down indoors. However we should all know; pandemic or no pandemic; we spend almost 95% of our life indoors.
In these trying times, some are working from home, some have resorted to their hobbies and some people are mostly killing their time by screen time. While there are some who can’t help but sleep and few have turned insomniac with varying sleep patterns or no sleep at all. There’s fear of death and frustration of finances and well-being. Many of us have our near and dear ones who are helping us steer through this trying times. But times like these can take a mental toll on even the healthiest of individuals. As such it becomes frustrating at times even with our close ones. However, the good news is; many of us also have silent friends who have a positive effect on our mental health. They help us stay calm & cool.
By now, you might be wondering who these wonderful friends are that we are not aware of? They support life on this planet on a scale that no other organism can. Yes, they are our evergreen friends since times immemorial; Plants. Those who have indoor plants or gardens will definitely relate to their positive effects. Staying connected to nature or plants have several benefits on human health & mind. Research have documented beneficial effects of indoor plants on outcomes such as psycho-physiological stress, task performance, and symptoms of ill health. Such studies have taken an interest in the value of indoor plants in work settings.
A number of studies have investigated the effects of indoor plants on outcomes relevant to the effectiveness and well-being. A randomized crossover study published in Journal of Physiological Anthropology finds that interaction with these friends may reduce psychological and physiological stress & make us happier by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults.
There are many ways in which plants are beneficial for us and we will tell you precisely what those benefits are.
Plants Make Us Happy:
Human beings generally feel happier and more optimistic in surroundings with plenty of plants. Consider a survey conducted at 4 San Francisco Bay Area hospitals. In the survey, 79 percent of patients said they felt more relaxed and calm, 19 percent felt more positive, and 25 percent felt refreshed and stronger after spending time in a garden. Connection to nature helps us focus on the bigger picture, the happy world. When we work with plants we have a release of feel-good chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. A 2007 study found a bacterium in soil called mycobacterium vaccae that triggers the release of serotonin, which lifts mood and reduces anxiety. The results of one research suggest that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress. This is accomplished through suppression of sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure and promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings. An indoor garden can be your refuge from the outside world, and for many people it is a source of great joy. Whether you live in a small apartment, or a large house, by introducing certain plants into your home, you will start to notice improvements to your health, and overall happiness.
Plants Reduce Stress:
Studies have shown that interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress – in fact they can have a soothing effect. The review data, collected and analyzed by researchers Charles Hall and Melinda Knuth at Texas A&M University and published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, supports the notion that living in or near green spaces, and spending as much time as possible in both natural settings and cultivated gardens, can improve mood, reduce the negative effects of stress, encourage physical activity and other positive behaviors, improve cognition, reduce aggression, and enhance overall well-being in people of all ages under many different circumstances. Studies have also found a connection between indoor plants and mental health, including aiding the healing process for hospital patients. For example, a 2009 study found patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers had lower blood pressure, higher pain tolerance, lower anxiety and lower fatigue than patients who stayed in rooms without plants. This study supports the therapeutic value of plants.
Plants Alleviate Depression:
One Korean study of patients diagnosed with moderate to severe depression compared the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) performed in a hospital to CBT performed in an arboretum with a forest-like setting. Symptoms of depression were most significantly reduced in the arboretum group, who also experienced 20% to 30% higher rates of complete remission when compared to a typically medicated group. Nature was prescribed by doctors for diseases in past, and in modern times this is needed much more. One experiment showed that looking at plants for 40 seconds during work at systems, boost mood & productivity. Other says that having plants & caring for them have a remarkable effect on overall well-being. This is a must for urbanite population to bring a positive change in their not so healthy life styles, where loneliness & depression is taking a toll on many. It is high time to de-saturate home office clutter & unfold a new green space by opening our doors to nature.
Plants Boost Our Memory:
Studies have also shown that being around plants may also help with concentration and memory. How? It’s more a repetitive process of examination when it comes to plants, with different experiences every time. Your brain retains more and keep you focused in on the task at hand. You actually promote insights & activity and take challenges. Lives get busy, days get short, and it can be difficult to go out in nature. We rarely visit parks, forests and farms in an urban setting where we have less time on hands. Journal of Environmental Psychology has in fact proved that house plants are more than just something to keep watered. They’re actually natural memory boosters as well! Plants reduce anxiety and that helps in smooth functioning of brain and enhances memory. A study published in International Journal of Environment & Public Health provided scientific support for the physiological and psychological effects of viewing green foliage in children. Visual stimulation with real plants reduced theta waves, indicative of a lack of concentration. The visual stimulation of green foliage plants tended to improve attention and feelings of comfort in elementary school students.
Plants Improves Attention & Reaction Time:
American Journal of Public Health” examines the impact of green or natural settings on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Researchers found activities carried out in green settings significantly reduce symptoms of ADHD compared to other settings. Many children can benefit from spending time in nature. Another research “Effects of Foliage Plants on Human Physiological and Psychological Responses at Different Temperatures” says “Escalation of task demands and time pressures tends to make a worker run into work stress, which leads to mental fatigue and depression. The mental fatigue can be reduced when attention capacity is restored. Nature can serve as a source of fascination which can restore the attention capacity. People bring plants indoors so they can experience nature in their workplace. This study also revealed that the presence of plants on several types of tasks has different effects of attention which are useful for increasing work performance.
Plants Boost Self Esteem:
A plant can teach us all. The bad, the good & the ugly. It can convey to us the meaning of life. It actually parallels our life, our feelings at one stage or other. Keeping plants and being close to nature makes us appreciate everything. Our life, others life and more. We become gentle, kind and worthy. We know the hardships through other being and we connect with the journey. A plant parent is a responsibility & boundless love with endless possibilities. It is just like having a child or children and raising them. There are people who have plants and trees, they grew old with them with beautiful connection throughout life. Such people have been found more confident and caring. Having plants helps us connect with like-minded people. Taking care of plants can provide us with some perspective that we do have some control, and that our actions matter.
When children take care of plants and watch plants grow, they observe a transformation. A child can gain an understanding of his or her transformation from child to young adult. Children can also learn that it does not matter what they look like or if they have a mental health issue — they can be nurturers and contribute their love and attention to the world. Gardening is one way to gain a sense of self-worth regardless of social norms. Care & responsibility becomes an integral part of the behavior which helps them to become better individuals and citizens.
Indoor plants provide us so much! Now this is more than #BreatheFreshIndoors. The presence and benefits of plants/ air purifying plants have always been emphasized by Rolling Nature. Next time when you stress yourself, write a prescription of few plants for yourself and bring them home or at workplace. They will do wonders, really they will. Keep smiling and burst that stress with a dash of greenery!
This article is by Vandana Chaudhary, Co-Founder of Rolling Nature & Initiative Earth.
Highly Recommended! Read the Science behind Benefits of Indoor Plants here:
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