We live in a fast-paced world, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The advancement of technology has added so many amazing benefits to our lives; however, by being constantly inundated by devices where anyone or anything can steel your attention at any moment, it can be extremely challenging to find true rest and peace of mind. This constant stimulation can lead to anxiety, depression, and even loneliness. While it would be nice if we could all completely disconnect and spend a week in a cabin in the woods, this simply isn’t realistic. Houseplants, growing a small garden or even herbs in a windowsill, can not only help fill the void, but also bring peace and joy to quiet the mind and soul, plus an overall sense of well-being, in an otherwise chaotic world. Let’s talk about 4 powerful ways plants can do this!
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Just the mere presence of plants has the power to reduce stress. Plants can have a profound impact on relieving anxiety. Whether you have a potted plant by your desk or are playing outside in the garden, being around plants is a powerful tool to decrease the stress levels in our lives.
One study showed that patients exposed to a hospital room with indoor plants reported less stress than those in the control. This study confirmed that the indoor plants reduced feelings of stress just by their attractiveness in the room (1). Another study showed that patients in hospital rooms with greenery and flowers had to take significantly lower amounts of pain medicine, had lower blood pressure and heart rate, lower rating of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and had more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms when compared to the patients in the control group (2). Even looking at pictures of nature can help speed up mental restoration and improve cognitive function (3).
The simple act of working with plants has also been shown to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. A study compared the effects of outdoor gardening to indoor reading. The study reveals both reading and gardening decreased cortisol levels; however, stress levels decrease significantly more with gardening (4).
“Taking care of and tending to the needs of something other than myself helps me get away from my thoughts, even if just for a few minutes, and it really helps my wellbeing”” (Gizem Altheimer, Ph.D., 5)
Improved Energy and Performance
Sitting at a desk all day or scrolling through our Instagram feed steels our energy. It is vital that we have tools to help gain that energy back to be our best and be as productive as possible. Studies have shown that being around plants has the power to do just that! This will in turn help your mood and outlook on life. It’s amazing how all of these benefits are not separate from each other but fully connected.
One study found, “Allowing staff to make design decisions in a workspace enhanced with office plants can increase well-being by 47%, increase creativity by 45% and increase productivity by 38%” (6).
And of course, stepping outside and going for a walk increases our energy, with even more health benefits if your walk is surrounded by trees in nature, including boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, improving mood, increasing your ability to focus (including children with ADHD), accelerating recovery from surgery or illness, and improving sleep (7).
Improve Your Physical Health
We are huge advocates for healthy living here at Eden and eating a diet full of healthy fruits and vegetables is a fantastic way to increase your overall health. So are indoor plants! Aside from the health benefits previously listed in this article – indoor plants can do even more!
A study from Washington State University found that plants reduce the dust in rooms by as much as 20% (8). This means that plants can actually remove particulate matter from the air, helping to improve your health. A 2007 NASA article discussing how plants can clean air and water for indoor environments did an experiment in their “BioHome” facility (what looks like a 45ft x 16ft greenhouse) and found that “before the houseplants were added, though, anyone entering the newly constructed facility would experience burning eyes and respiratory difficulties…Once the plants were introduced to the environment, analysis of the air quality indicated that most of the VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) had been removed, and the symptoms disappeared” (9). While another study (10) states you would need a lot of plants to achieve this level of air purification, adding plants to your home can only help.
According to an article on growing plants in space by Mary Musgrave, professor of plant physiology whose research has been funded by NASA, “Plants also can serve as convenient traveling companions. Taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, they offer a useful means of recycling water and air for astronauts on the spacecraft with them” (11).
The WSU study also found that plants may add humidity to a room. Having the right humidity level in your home (not too low, not too high) can help prevent virus transmission (12). Therefore, if your house has low humidity, indoor plants help reduce the risk of irritated airways, runny nose, and itchy eyes (unless you are allergic to them of course😉) (13).
Plus, more than just improving air quality, the simple fact that plants help reduce stress, anxiety and even depression is going to increase your overall mental and physical health.
Increase Your Joy!
“People who are more connected with nature are happier, feel more vital and have more meaning in their lives” (14).
There are so many things in this life that can steel our joy, from frustrations at work to losing our keys. It seems like they are never-ending. It’s not about finding ways to eliminate these from happening - it’s about learning how to manage them in a positive way – because life happens! Finding things that bring us joy can help keep our emotions in check so we can better handle whatever life throws our way.
Plants may seem like a small way to do this; however, it’s the little things in life that can bring us the most joy. Flowers, in particular, greatly improve people’s mood and reduce the likelihood of stress-related depression and increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed (15). Flowers can make you happy by triggering your happy brain chemicals including dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin (16). So, we ladies aren’t lying in saying that flowers truly do make us happy😉.
Whether you have a small windowsill house plant or an abundant garden – the evidence is clear – not only is eating a healthy diet full of fresh organic produce one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health, being around plants and nature is one as well!
Check out this calming video on easy indoor plants that you can start growing today!
Want a two-for-one? With the Eden Grow Tower you get all the amazing benefits of being around plants, plus the ability to grow your own health-promoting food year-round! Head over to edengrowsytems.com to learn more.
The miracle of how food grows is quite amazing and watching your plants go from seed to harvest, in sometimes less than 30 days (plants grow even faster in aeroponics) is extremely rewarding – no matter what amount of grow experience you have!
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Alicia Raymond is a Content Creator for Eden Grow Systems. Alicia is passionate about helping others live healthy lives and believes growing your own fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to achieve this. She loves to cook with the food she and her husband grow on their 20-acre homestead in the Pacific NW, where they have also documented their adventures of building and operating a self-sustaining off-grid food habitat on their YouTube channel, therealmartian.com. This effort has now turned into Eden Grow Systems, an indoor grow company. Alicia has experience growing microgreens for profit, and food blogging. She is a former registered nurse, holding a B.S. in Nursing.