There was a time when people spent most of their lives outside, enjoying everything nature has to offer. Unfortunately, with the modernization of our world, our lives, workplaces, and entertainment spaces moved inside, reducing how often we venture into more natural environments.
One solution is to bring pieces of the outside world into indoor spaces. Doing so isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, either. Plants have several benefits you may not be aware of. Learning how plants help your mental health may be all the incentive required to add a few to your home.
Even the most positive people have bad days filled with unhappy thoughts and negative interactions. When trapped in spaces filled with inanimate objects, the lack of life does little to help improve our moods’. Being in the presence of plants has the opposite effect, calming the mind for a more peaceful outlook. It doesn’t take long for a positive outlook to kick in, either. After spending only fifteen minutes around plants, your mood will be much more positive.
Stress is an all-too-common part of life, caused by work, financial issues, and even familial strains. When individuals are stressed, it alters their mood and increases anxiety. Interacting with plants can counter such mental strain, reducing physiological and psychological stress. Tending to plants for less than twenty minutes can soothe the mind, calming those worries and improving your overall outlook.
Increase Productivity And Creativity
Windows in workspaces or classrooms were considered distractions in the past, but they actually have the opposite effect. When individuals can see the natural world outside, their attention and alertness increase, improving productivity. Mood and relaxation are also boosted around plants. If your space is lacking windows, a few indoor plants have the same effect. Being close to plants also gets those creative juices flowing since the mind is clear and calm.
Better Concentration and Memory
As mentioned above, plants have a calming effect that modern environments with various technological distractions can’t compare with. When the mind is relaxed, concentration improves, so you can maintain your focus on any task you’re assigned. Memory also improves, so you retain more information when plants are nearby than you would in a sterile, nature-free space.
Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Another benefit of plants is their ability to reduce anxiety and depression. Those who spend some of their free time in parks, on hiking trails, or just relaxing in well-treed areas notice a significant decrease in symptoms. The more interaction an individual has with plants, the better they’ll feel, so keeping a few plants in frequently used spaces in your home or office is essential for boosting mental health.
Re-establish A Natural Connection
Humans have an instinctual connection to nature, though many of us seem to have forgotten this over the years. Bringing plants into our homes helps renew those connections by forcing us to get our hands in the soil, prune those dead leaves, and focus on the moisture and fertilizer needs of our indoor plants. Even just touching the leaves and smelling their distinctive scents links us to our plants and induces a calm, collected mind.
Though several jobs require outdoor work, the majority of professions are indoors these days. Changes in the workforce also resulted in more people working from home, essentially turning their private spaces into job-related areas. This makes it more difficult to leave work at the office since the office is often in a nearby room or one of your living spaces.
The lack of a safe relaxation space leads to mental fatigue, increased negativity, and reduced attention spans. Adding a few plants to your home redirects your attention, allowing you a few peaceful moments to collect your thoughts and calm your mind. Before long, you’ll feel grounded and recharged, with a positive outlook that makes any task easier to handle.
How To Choose Plants For Indoor Spaces
Knowing how plants help your mental health is only the first step to gaining the benefits. You also need to add a few plants to your living and office spaces to reap the rewards, though it can be tricky to decide which to choose and how to arrange them.
Real Or Fake?
Greenery can brighten any indoor place, though not all greens have the same effects. Artificial plants or even pictures of nature can boost your mood and calm your mind, though the effects are much stronger with real plants. Fake plants have the correct look but lack the distinctive scent living plants have to offer. The texture of the leaves and the feel of the soil are also missing with decorative greenery, so if you have the time and lighting for real plants, they are the better option.
That said, those with busy schedules or that travel frequently can still get many of the above benefits with fake plants. Added greenery is never a bad thing whether that’s real or fake.
How Many Plants?
The number of plants needed for your indoor areas depends on how much room you have and the type of plants you choose. Five or more seem to have the highest benefits for positive emotions and better mental health. Of course, if you lack space, you can choose a single tall potted plant or a few small to medium plants.
Even a single plant can have a positive effect. Bonsai trees, for example, are often grown on office desks for their small size.
Plants come in an array of colors, so you can create a rainbow display if you like. Unfortunately, not all shades offer the mental health benefits you may be seeking. For instance, whitish-green foliage stimulates negativity, so it is not the best choice when trying to boost your mood. Colored plants, like red or pink, improve heart rate and blood pressure, though they don’t seem to affect the mind. A combination of green, yellow, and purple are most effective, improving relaxation and mood while reducing anxiety.
Plants in your home are always beneficial, though they’ll need to be where you can see them. Add plants to the rooms you spend the most time in, including the bedroom, kitchen, living room, and home office. Proximity is also vital, so place them where they’ll be within ten feet of you for better mental health.
How Plants Improve Your Mental Health
There’s lots of evidence that having plants in your home or work can reduce stress, fight anxiety, and ultimately improve your mood. That’s why we recommend everyone bring a little greenery into their home. There are hundreds of plants to choose from, so there’s something out there for every taste.