Taking care of plants has been scientifically proven to improve your mental health and in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month (May) we are looking at just how surrounding yourself with gorgeous greenery can make your space healthier all around.
How do you feel when you come across the elegance of nature in a vista of greenery, a bouquet of flowers or a plant on a desk? If you feel an inner sense of peace, a little energized or some sense of clarity, you are not alone.
Science actually suggests that keeping plants in our surroundings has a positive effect on us, both physically and mentally. This may sound new to you but in this article, we will give you wonderful reasons to start keeping green fingers.
Mental Health Benefits to Growing Plants
It improves your mood
A study carried out at four San Francisco Bay Area Hospitals showed that after walking in a garden, 79% of the patients claimed to feel calm and tranquil. 25% of the patients also felt reinvigorated after taking some time exploring gardens. 19% became more positive due to the presence of plants in their space. These figures are pointers to the fact that flowers and plants cause positive feelings and elevate mood. Another research in 2005 proved that women who were given flowers had elated moods after three days. The research also showed that elderly patients that got regular gifts of flowers also had enhanced episodic memory and elated moods. The University of Exeter Medical School, England, in 2014, also found that people who moved to surroundings with more greenery experienced instant mood upliftment.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Walking through plants and flowers has the effect of keeping your senses engaged and in the present. It takes your mind off worrying thoughts. According to a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology which compared the effects of outdoor gardening to indoor reading. It revealed that although both activities caused a reduction in cortisol levels, the reduction from gardening was more prominent than the value from reading. It also showed that the subjects, after gardening, had an uplifted mood. Another research in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology showed that individuals who interacted with plants had reduced psychological stress levels. In the study, a set of participants were asked to work on a computer while another set were asked to switch tasks. The researchers discovered that the group that transplanted first felt calmer and more comfortable, compared to the group that engaged in the computer task first.
Enhance Attention Span
Taking care of plants has proven to enhance attention span, improve concentration and by extension, help people increase their capacity to learn. The American journal of Health once published a research work that assessed the effect of green and natural environments on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the publication, activities that took place in green and natural environments tremendously minimized the symptoms of ADHD in children, in comparison with other environments. The American Society for Horticultural Sciences, in another study showed the effect of gardening in a science curriculum. In their study, students who spent time on gardening activities had notably better scores on a science achievement test than those who learnt science in conventional classroom settings.
Let’s put things in perspective. The act of tending a plat requires concentration and attention to detail. You will need to calculate how much water, the right mix of fertilizers, soil type and ability to identify plants that need water or pruning and so on. These activities require concentration and dedication. They stretch your mental power, allowing you to learn better. Studies have also shown that the presence of nature in the windows of lower income youth could enhance the ability of the youth to concentrate, with a direct correlation between increased greenness and concentration level. It could also cause an increase in memory retention by up to 20%.
We live in a technologically advanced world and an era of social media, where we incessantly compare ourselves to others. The result is that our mental health and self esteem takes a beating. We begin to feel under pressure and react in an unhealthy way. We can all benefit from intermittent technology and social media breaks. One amazing activity to fill our time on, away from social media and gadgets is tending to plants. It builds a connection between ourselves and nature, while giving us a confidence boost as we watch our plants thrive. Taking care of plants is an excellent way to enhance our sense of self-worth, as we are rewarded with the experience of the plant’s growth. Even when you get on social media, you can join communities of people with interest in gardening and houseplants, and share your knowledge or learn.
Staying around nature has a way of reducing mental fatigue. It creates a pleasant and beautiful space for productive work. This also plays a wonderful role in employee retention, increases productivity and accuracy in accomplishing tasks.
What Plants are Good for Mental Health
Aloe vera: aloe vera is one of the most versatile plants. It has a wide range of applications across cosmetics, health and food industries. It regulates mood swings and radiates positive energy.
Jasmine: it has a fragrance that soothes the mind and boosts your mental health.
Rosemary: it uplifts moods, reduces anxiety and improves sleep and memory.
Lavender: it emits a sweet fragrance that instantly uplifts your mood, makes you happy and feels relaxed in a space.
Eucalyptus: The eucalyptus plant is a beautiful plant that enhances productivity and concentration. It also radiates positive energy.
Calathea: it has a unique foliage that beautifies your space. It also closes its leaves at night and opens up by morning, to spread positive energy.
Horticulture has been proposed as a therapeutic activity since it has been demonstrated to deliver a mindfulness experience to those who engage in it. So, go ahead and start tending your garden for its manifold mental benefits. Check out some of our favorite easy to care for plants.