Plants have a special way of elevating our moods, lifting our spirits, and providing a sense of wonder. But they possess far more utility than just a knack for making us humans feel good. Simply put, we need plants for our survival.
From food and exercise to medicine and recuperation, so much that is healthy and beneficial has a connection to the colorful, chlorophyll-containing wonders that make up the plant kingdom. In this first installment, we focus on a host of general well-being benefits.
Photograph by Brina Blum on Unsplash
Plants Promote Positive Vibes And More Tangible Goodness
Plants can provide an emotional pick-me-up. Being around plants and nature makes people happier. This almost certainly feels instinctively true for plant lovers, but it’s borne out by research.
“There is increasing awareness among researchers and health practitioners of the potential health benefits derived from gardening activities.
“Studies have shown that gardening increases individual’s life satisfaction, vigor, psychological well-being, positive effects, sense of community, and cognitive function.
“Reductions in stress, anger, fatigue, and depression and anxiety symptoms have also been documented.”(Source: sciencedirect.com)
“Houseplants reduce stress and anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, active interaction with indoor plants (like touching and smelling) can reduce physiological and psychological stress. What’s more, even the potting soil can help you keep a handle on daily stress and anxiety.” (Source: Forbes.com)
“Being around plants helps people concentrate better in the home and workplace. Studies show that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy, yielding a higher quality result. Moreover, being outside in a natural environment can improve memory performance and attention span by twenty percent.”
“Shrubs, trees, and flowers have a practical application in hospitals: The presence of plants in patient recovery rooms greatly reduces the time necessary to heal. The soothing effects of ornamental flowers and plants are so great that simply having daily views of flowers and other ornamental plants in landscaped areas outside patient recovery rooms significantly speeds up recovery time. Another technique to decrease recovery time is horticulture therapy, where patients care for and nurture plants themselves. Patients who physically interact with plants experience a significantly reduced recovery time after medical procedures.”
Plants Make People Happy
“Adding flowers to your home or work environment reduces your perceived stress levels and makes you feel more relaxed, secure, and happy. Flowers can help you achieve a more optimistic outlook on your life, bringing you both pleasing visual stimulation and helping you to increase your perceived happiness. (Source for all: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension)
Photograph by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash
Plants Allow You To Get Physical
Step it up in the garden to your heart’s content…and benefit. You might be surprised how many steps you can pile up and calories you can burn while gardening, moving from one end of your space to the next, planting, pruning, weeding, harvesting, feeding, watering. The digging, the pulling, the stretching. We feel a sweat coming on just from the thought.
Burning calories and lowering your blood pressure are just two of the benefits to the mind and body from gardening, says this Good Housekeeping article. Excerpts below:
“You can burn about 330 calories doing one hour of light gardening and yard work — more than walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Lower Your Blood Pressure
“Just 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity most days of the week can prevent and control high blood pressure. In fact,The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends gardening or raking leaves for 30-45 minutes as examples of how to hit that recommended amount.”
Like us, you’ve probably been spending even more time of late with your plants. Who knew that weeding, pruning, picking, raking, digging, planting, and repotting were so good for one’s health? Keep it up and keep the positive, plant-filled vibes flowing.