Today, there are an increasing number of people suffering from mental health issues, so it is not surprising to see efforts to improve the mental states of these individuals through the least invasive methods. This article will teach you about how plants make us happy, why plants make us happier, what constitutes plant therapy, what other health benefits can plants provide, and which plants will make you happy in a variety of ways.
Scientists have been conducting research into how plants affect human mental health for decades. Plants have been proven to be effective in reducing anxiety, mood enhancement, productivity, healing, and overall well-being in various published studies.
How Can Plants Make You Happy?
The presence of plants is definitely more than aesthetic. Their mere presence brightens our surroundings and uplifts our moods. According to studies, if you place plants in spaces that seem drab and empty, they can breathe life into your home. Having plants around is therapeutic. We can use them to control stress and focus our energy positively.
Today, we spend much more time indoors because of our lifestyle. This is especially true for city folk and people who live in urban areas. The outside of a city is not as green as we might have imagined, which lowers our contact with nature. Besides beautiful trees, flowers, and clean air, this also includes the bright blue sky and fresh air. Many people living in the city have potted plants in their homes to compensate for this lack of plants.
Research has shown that indoor plants trigger happiness through their green foliage and blooms. The sight of plants activates billions of neural pathways, telling our brain that the sight of nature is indeed a delight.
Hospital patients may be able to have a garden view, or at least have a flower surrounded by plants in their recovery rooms, because these are proven to boost the body’s healing capabilities.
People who work in small offices and are deprived of every possible piece of greenery are more likely to get sick. Businesses that actually have plants within working spaces have a lower absenteeism rate. This is because plants can:
- Reduce Stress
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Boost Immunity
- Improve Sleep
It can be an inexpensive option to have a plant around that will make your space healthier.
Enhance Performance and Increase Energy
Plants are generally beneficial to a person’s mental state of mind, thus increasing their vitality. Indoor areas with plants and other natural elements make people happier which leads to increased activity. The mind is stimulated by plants. This is a great way to boost energy if you’re in a small space.
For just a little amount of money, you can make your workspace more productive by placing indoor plants throughout the workspace. Libraries, offices, and schools should have them as well.
Helps You Relax
Being closer to nature makes us feel more relaxed. We do this in order to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life by visiting beaches, forests, and mountains when we go on vacation. Seeing the blue sky, smelling nature, and seeing greenery really relaxes the mind and the eyes. By applying the same principles as in nature and applying the greenery we see in the outdoors indoors, we can relax at home. In other words, the more relaxed we are, the less stressed we feel, the more productive we become at the end of the day. This kind of positive chain reaction is how we promote overall wellness.
Improves Memory and Focus
Our sense of smell enhances memory when we ingest aromatic plants such as rosemary. Another study at the University of Michigan found that around 20% of memory retention is improved in people who are surrounded by plants. This has a positive effect on our cognitive skills and learning capabilities. By simply looking at plants, you’ll be able to accomplish all of this.
Living in the city can be noisy. With traffic constantly passing through, construction activity constantly going on, and numerous people living in congested areas, homeowners are constantly looking for ways to minimize the noise within their living spaces. Even small amounts of noise can cause a lot of stress for homeowners. You can eliminate background noise by having plants in your home. The leaves of the plants absorb sound and diffract background noise. Larger leaves are more effective.
All it takes is the brain’s ability to interpret what we see, smell, and feel into a positive cognitive reaction. Having plants around our home and even indoors, we are able to improve our mood entirely and essentially feel happy.
Statistics on Mental Health
Mental illness is a serious matter that needs to be addressed by every nation appropriately. More than 1 in 5 adults in the US suffer from serious mental illnesses that would require intensive treatment. There are also people who aren’t diagnosed with serious mental illnesses and don’t know how to cope with them. The statistics above alone should make us aware of our own mental health and help us learn to cope with stress efficiently.
Almost everyone prefers an approach that is less invasive in treating themselves, whether they are suffering from anxiety or periods of depression. The presence of plants can improve the overall mood of a person. People with anxiety, depression, and overwhelming stress need just to surround themselves with plants to feel better. Although it would still be best to consult a professional regarding treatment, keeping plants in your house is another step for improving your mental health.
Many universities and organizations have studied intensively how plants can be used to treat psychological disorders as well as be used as a science tool.
What is Plant Therapy?
There is such a form of therapy called horticulture therapy, which is also called plant therapy. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians used “walks in the garden” to treat patients diagnosed with some form of mental illness, and it was said to work.
In the middle ages, hospitals would have garden spaces for patients to walk through. It has been noted that patients who are exposed to nature during their healing process tend to have a better disposition, and heal faster than those who prefer to stay inside their hospital rooms all day. It is more effective to treat patients if they can heal more quickly.
West developed their own methods of treating mental health patients and patients with developmental disabilities through plants therapy. At the Friends Hospital in 1817, formerly known as the Asylum for Persons Deprived of Reason, the surrounding land was landscaped with walkways so patients could interact better with plants. The same hospital built the first greenhouse used in therapy. Plant therapy has been very successful at this hospital and has influenced other nearby hospitals to also use this method.
For the duration of World War I and World War II, soldiers that required physical and occupational therapy to improve the functionality of their injured limbs were required to work in gardens. These soldiers figured out how to increase mental function in addition to regaining the same level of mobility that they once had. These soldiers have appeared to heal faster than those who stayed locked up in hospitals.
A nonprofit organization, the American Horticulture Therapy Association, has been created in its honor. Professionals can join this association and become registered Horticultural Therapists.
What Are the Health Benefits of Having Plants Around You?
Having plants in our homes not only improve our mood, it can also improve our physical health. If you need further convincing about why plants should be part of your interior decor, here are some of the health benefits they can provide:
Plants Help You Breathe Better
Carbon dioxide is exhaled when we breathe oxygen. Through the process of respiration, oxygen is taken in. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air, as well as water, light, and soil nutrients, during their active phase. A waste product of photosynthesis is oxygen. In essence, plants help increase oxygen levels in a given area. Therefore, when there is an abundance of oxygen in the air, the easier it is for us to breathe.
A perfect plant would be one that would produce oxygen continuously throughout the day, which is why you should choose one that would release carbon dioxide only during the day. This type of plant would be ideal for your bedroom.
They Keep You Away From Illnesses
Plant roots access groundwater and allow it to evaporate through the leaves of plants. This process is known as transpiration. The humidity in the air actually comes from this, which keeps the surrounding environment relatively cooler. Almost all home plants do the same thing. Plants within living spaces can reduce the incidence of dry skin, sore throats, dry coughs, and even colds. In a study conducted at the Agricultural University of Norway, it is said that plants within living spaces can stabilize humidity. Increased humidity indoors, thanks to indoor plants, also affects the survival of the flu virus.
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