10 surprising ways plants makes you happier, healthier and smarter!
Many of us have dabbled with gardening in the past, and whether we grow pretty flowering plants, fruits and vegetables, tall trees, or cute bonsais, there’s something we can all agree on – gardening is a hobby. It’s a leisure activity, it’s a way of passing time, it’s a fun way to spend a sunny day with the kids, and some may even argue that it’s a bit trivial…. or is it?
Some researchers are claiming that gardening can be much, much more than just a hobby, and that honing those green-finger skills could actually have many benefits – including making us healthier! Experts in the health field are starting to recognize that a great deal of our mental and physical health is determined by our environment, but just how can a task as simple as simple indoor gardening play such a significant role in our overall wellbeing, health, and happiness? Oh and did I mentioned learning abilities and productivity?
Urban can mess with your head.
With housing prices continuing to soar, many young people looking to get onto the property ladder are opting for urban apartments and flats in an effort to stay within budget, and while urban living does bring many advantages – proximity to the city for shopping and socialising, and an all-round sense of excitement, vibrancy, and liveliness – health professionals are beginning to voice concerns regarding the long term mental health of those in urban areas.
Statistically speaking, if you live in an urban environment, you have a much higher risk of experiencing episodes of depression or displaying signs of anxiety than your rural-dwelling counterparts. Although many researchers have replicated these findings, what the experts can’t seem to agree on is exactly why mental health is typically poorer in urban areas than in rural areas. Some believe it’s due to higher levels of unemployment in the city, but it could also be argued that a lack of natural space, known for being calming, relaxing, and serene, could be an important factor to consider.
Little-green-leaved friends to the rescue
So just how could planting, watering, talking to your plants (if you’re into that sort of thing!) or even just having plants and some greens around combat symptoms of conditions such as depression and anxiety? Improve our sleep and air quality, or even affect our relationships?
It’s believed our little-green-leaved friends could help in many distinct ways affecting our body and mind:
1. Accelerates Healing Process.
The presence of plants in hospital recovery rooms and/or views of aesthetically-pleasing gardens help patients to heal faster, due to the soothing affects of ornamental horticulture.
Studies show that plants are effective in helping recover from illness and actually can speed recovery time. Plants contribute to a feeling of well-being and comfort that benefit everyone’s daily life. Does a body good
2. Headaches and high blood pressure? Not any more!
Plants also can help reduce headaches because they help eliminate stuffy air; homes with many indoor plants can even help reduce high blood pressure.
3. Increase Purpose and Motivation
There’s no denying that everyday life and everyday routine can become a bit boring, and many of us have gone through periods where we’d openly admit we were ‘stuck in a rut’. This is where gardening comes into play. According to experts, gardening provides a ‘sense of achievement, satisfaction, and aesthetic pleasure’, and for this reason growing even simple plants which would enable you to tap into a natural rhythm is so powerful.
4. Increase your energy and your performance
Researchers tend to agree that there are significant increases in certain hormone levels following a bit of pruning. Levels of cortisol are typically higher after gardening, which gives a burst of energy, while gardening is also thought to stimulate the neuroendocrine cells which release adrenaline, making you feel energetic, alive, happy, and like you could tackle anything.
But if you are not into actual gardening being around plants itself can help you be more energetic and productive. Not only that but it also increases feeling of vitality, increasing their energy levels and making us feel more animated. Their performance levels are, in turn, increased by this improved state of mind. Natural environments induce a positive outlook on life, making people feel more alive and active.
5. Relax and feel closer to nature while indoors
We spend so much time indoors these days for a variety of reasons. Because of that we often miss out on the serenity that greenery and colorful flowers can bring to our lives. By having some green plants indoor, especially on our desk at the office or in the kitchen we can access the relaxing benefits of the outdoors brought inside. Plants can be calming and provide a lovely distraction during times of stress or tension. The soothing effects of natural aesthetic beauty help to minimize stress and stay grounded in the most difficult times.
6. Makes you feel needed
Having plants to love and nurture gives us something to take care of (that can’t talk back), which can enrich our lives. If you purchase a flowering plant that currently has no buds on it, you can make a goal of giving it care and attention with fertilizer and water so it can grow flowers. Many people, especially those without children or pets or that live alone, find comfort in the care and nurturing of both indoor and outdoor plants. To provide a happy environment for plants and flowers helps people to feel fulfilled and needed — simple pleasures we all want and need.
7. Have a clean air
Plants are natural humidifiers as well, so keep a few in your bedroom in colder months when the heat is running.
8. Reduce background noise for better night sleep
Another reason to keep them in your bedroom is for a better night’s rest. How? They have been shown to help reduce background noise, so if you live by a highway or busy through street, certain plants are definitely a must have for your abode.
9. Improves Relationships and increases Compassion.
Research shows that people who spend extended lengths of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others. This is due to measurable increases in feelings of compassion; another effect of exposure to plants. Studies have shown that people who spend more time around plants are much more likely to try and help others, and often have more advanced social relationships. People who care for nature are more likely to care for others, reaching out to their peers and forming shared bonds resulting from their common interests. (Brethour 2007)
10. Improve your learning abilities
Research shows that children, who spend time around plants learn better. In addition, being around natural environments improves the ability of children with Attention Deficit Disorder to focus, concentrate, and engage more with their surrounding environment.
Keeping plants in a child’s learning environment enhances learning capabilities by helping them to focus and concentrate. This improves their ability to learn new things and makes it easier for them to absorb and retain information. The soothing effects of natural aesthetic beauty help to minimize the distractions that would otherwise occupy their minds. By altering the environment in which children learn, plants can help them to learn better. (Frank 2003)
An indoor garden may seem like a challenging (and somewhat messy!) addition to the home, but implementing your very own calming, natural space indoors needn’t be tricky. New and advancing technologies are making it easier than ever before to bring the beauty of nature into the heart of the home, with systems such as Niwa taking the hassles out of traditional gardening methods and introducing new, streamlined maintenance that’s easy and effective indoors. Systems like Niwa are opening doors, especially for those in urban areas, and revolutionising lives, offering opportunities to become healthier and more eco-conscious, even when the surrounding environment presents obstacles that are difficult to overcome.