With the New Year comes new health goals and often a new gym membership. But, what if you could increase your health by just sitting still? Well, you can with plants!
You might already be aware that plants possess health benefits like cleaning the air, but they do much more than that! They have so many benefits that you might not even realize are already positively impacting you. Keep reading to discover these and how to take full advantage of them so you can achieve those New Year’s Resolutions!
How Plants Benefit your Health
We know, it might sound like a stretch for something that stays so sedentary to benefit your health, but plants can do it! Your health is more than just going to the gym. A full picture of health is one that takes into account your mental, physical and spiritual well-being. These three work together to create a happy and healthy you.
Mental Health Benefits
With more and more people working from home, having plants in the house is even more important. Try placing a plant on or near your workspace. Not only does it act as decor, but you might also see your productivity levels increase by 12%. According to the study found in this journal, the participants showed to be more on task and more responsive with lower blood pressure during the work day when plants were present in the office (Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 1996).
Peppermint, in particular, is a good herb to have on hand for a pick-me-up in the afternoon and has been shown to keep you focused and on task (Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2003). A study performed in 2003 tested how the scent of peppermint affected things like focus, alphabetization, and memorization and was found to increase the quality of these tasks.
Increased Happiness Levels
Here at FGT, we think plants make people happier, but we may be biased. However, a New Zealand study that looked into the therapeutic impact of plants may prove us right. Participants with access to green spaces and plants were compared to those lacking green space. What the study found is that those with green space and access to plants showed less mental illness and more positive thoughts than those without green space. They were generally happier and struggled less than those lacking green space proximity (An ecological study investigating the association between access to urban green space and mental health, 2013). Just like pets are known to bring joy into our lives, so are plants!
Physical Health Benefits
Improved Air Quality
You’ve probably heard that plants can improve air quality, but did you know this fact is backed by NASA? A 1989 study confirmed the long-time suspension that plants do more than just convert CO2 to O2. Plants are natural filters capable of filtering even formaldehyde out of our air! Even better is that the filtering qualities are not limited to one kind of plant, as most plants do this (Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement, 1989). How cool is that?
Faster Recovery Time
We aren't promising that your house plant will get rid of your seasonal sniffles, but plants can help speed up your recovery process. A 2002 study was conducted in which hospital patients were placed in rooms with either garden views or with nature artwork on the walls. It was found that patients with views of a garden or nature artwork recovered faster than those with abstract art or poor views. Just five minutes of viewing nature positively impacted patients and their recovery time (Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals, 2002).
A good night’s rest helps everyone stay healthy. Did you know you can get better sleep by using the power of plants? Use aromatic plants like lavender or jasmine to relax before bed (North American Journal of Psychology, 2003). We recommend snipping some off of a plant and drying it to help preserve the scent. Or, try one of the purifying air plants in your room to clean your air while you sleep.
Spiritual Health Benefits
With our day-to-day life consisting of technology, it’s good to take a break now and then. Try grounding yourself and adding a little green to your self-care. One BBC article examines how incorporating plants into your daily routine brings many benefits in our technology-driven world like providing a way to relax and unplug, to interact with nature, and to foster patience and care for something other than yourself (Why living with and tending plants is good for you, 2020).
Connecting with Nature
There’s something unique about caring for something and having it care for you in return. This may look like a relationship between people or a connection with a pet. Try connecting with a plant, taking your time watering and nurturing that plant. Setting some time aside to remove an old leaf or water a plant is small, but fostering this relationship with your plants is highly rewarding and can make you happier (The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: a meta-analysis, 2014).
Plants are already positively affecting you, so take advantage of them! Today, we’re recognizing how therapeutic animals can be to health with designated pets in hospitals, but we think it’s time to shine a light on plants too. Pets are not for everyone, so try a plant for some therapeutic benefits and increased endorphins. Altering your environment can certainly have a positive impact on changing you for the better.
Of course, you would get the most benefits from having them in your home, but we understand the limitations. If you aren't sure yet which plants would best suit your space, don't wait to reap the benefits of nature. Take the scenic route as you’re driving to take in more trees and plants, get outside more frequently, or even change the background on your phone to a nature scene. All of these are ways to add a bit more green to your life and boost your health without spending a dime. And as always, if you need assistance finding the right plant for your space, we’re happy to help–just contact us here!