THREE SURPRISE WAYS PLANTS IMPROVE YOUR MOOD AND MIND
2 MIN READ
When I was a little girl I remember my Baba (the Ukrainian version of a grandma) talking to her plants, and telling me that it was really important to talk to them because, according to her, they had emotions and felt lonely if you didn’t.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized it wasn’t so much the plant’s loneliness she was helping, but her own. Tending to her plants gave her a sense of purpose, and communicating with them gave her a sense of relationship.
Three ways plants support your mental and physical wellness:
1. Plants can reduce stress
A recent study published in 2015 examined the relationship between interacting with indoor plants and mental stress related to work. What the study found was that active interaction with indoor plants reduced physiological and psychological stress more effectively than mental de-stressing activities like meditation.
They found that when people spent time interacting with plants, like for instance, talking to or watering a plant, the individual’s blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system was regulated and they reported to feel more calm and comfortable.
2. Plants can improve cognition and productivity
Another study led by Marlon Nieuwenhuis, from Cardiff University's School of Psychology, discovered that when offices invested in indoor plants, or as they put it, ‘landscaping an office with plants’, that it could increase workplace productivity by 15%.
Their research showed office plants significantly increased workplace satisfaction, and self-reported levels of concentration, as well as a perceived improvement in air quality. It also suggested that a ‘green’ office improved employee’s cognition and productivity, and propelled them to become more emotionally involved in their tasks.
3. Plants can boost serotonin levels
A 2007 study found that a specific bacteria in plant soil called mycobacterium vaccae can trigger the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a ’feel-good’ neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and can help alleviate anxiety and support depression.
What this study found was that close interaction with soil could both boost your immune system and your mood. So, activities like gardening or potting plants could make an impact on your mental wellness.
There is definitely something almost intangibly fantastic about plants. They are undoubtedly magical in their own right, with the ability to heal and transform us on so many levels from boosting our moods, to stimulating our cells, to improving our cognition and immune system, and perhaps to giving us a sense of purpose.
So next time you're feeling stressed, foggy, or even lonely, buy a plant, go for a walk outside, or whisper I love you to a tree and see how it elevates your mental wellness. Plus - you never know, it might just mean something to the plant too.