For those who live in rural and suburban communities, getting your daily dose of nature and sunlight can be as easy as walking out the front door. But for those who live in more urban settings, the exposure to greenery might not be as easy to come by. Luckily, there are many ways to bring the great outdoors into the comfort of your own home.
Aside from their aesthetics, much of indoor plants’ popularity is rooted in their numerous mental, physical, and emotional health benefits. Kirsten Beyer, Ph.D., co-author of a study published in Environmental Research and Public Health says, “nature can provide relief from our daily need to complete tasks, providing us with something inherently fascinating that holds our attention without our having to work at it.” Adding house plants to your living space is not only a great way to liven up your home, but to boost your health both physically and mentally.
According to NASA, certain green plants can remove up to 87% of air toxins within 24 hours, significantly improving the air quality of your home. Consider placing a money plant in your home, a popular green that requires little to no maintenance, and make the air in your home a lot healthier for your lungs. Any kind of plant with palms (bamboo palm and lady palm) are also beneficial for purifying the air.
Aside from air purity, research has shown that house plants could potentially help you recover from illness faster. A 2002 review of the research revealed that people recuperating from several kinds of surgery needed less pain medication and had shorter hospital stays than people who weren’t looking at greenery during their recovery periods. However, it is important to recognize that most research focuses on plants in hospital settings rather than at home.
Having even just a few houseplants around the home can also do wonders for your mental health. Jasmine and lavender plants are known to possess stress-relieving qualities with their subtle yet relaxing scents. Decorating your home and work space have been found to not only relieve stress but also increase productivity (try a bromeliad plant for boosted creativity). Plants around your house or office might help you feel more relaxed, calmed, and natural, according to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology.
Additionally, they may also help you focus better. In a small study involving 23 participants, researchers put students in a classroom with either a fake plant, a real one, a photograph of a plant, or no plant at all. Brain scans of the participants showed that the students who studied with real, live plants in the classroom were more attentive and better able to concentrate than the students in the other groups.
Moreover, multiple studies have shown that plants can help improve productivity. A 2007 study showed that people with more plants in their workspace took fewer sick days and were more productive on the job.
Even the very act of tending to these plants can be beneficial for many individuals. One study has found that indoor gardening can increase feelings of improved wellbeing in individuals with depression, dementia, anxiety, amongst other conditions, as it can be considered a therapeutic practice.
You don’t need to have an open yard or woods near you to bask in some greenery–including even just a few house plants in your living space can be the key to improved physical and mental health.