Why Plants Make Us Feel Good
At Green Philosophy Co., we’ve always known that plants can enhance people’s lives. Whether your home is filled with house plants or you just have a few succulents here and there, it’s hard to deny that having Mother Nature as a roommate can help you feel happier and healthier.
But have you ever wondered why that’s the case? As it turns out, indoor plants aren’t just nice to look at – they come with some very real benefits, including improved air quality, stress relief, and even reduced noise levels. Read on to learn more about these advantages and other reasons why plants make us feel good.
It’s no secret that plants can absorb gases in the air; after all, their ability to absorb carbon dioxide is an important part of photosynthesis. As luck would have it, that trait might also give plants the ability to keep the air in your home clean.
According to Live Science, researchers at institutions like NASA, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Georgia have found that carbon dioxide isn’t the only gas plants can absorb. They can also get rid of lots of volatile organic compounds, like benzene and formaldehyde. (And that’s definitely a good thing – those compounds have been linked to asthma, nausea, cancer, and respiratory illnesses!)
Most leafy plants can help purify the air in your home, but scientists have found that some plants are especially well-suited to this task. Here are a few of the plants they suggested:
- Japanese royal ferns
- Spider plants
- English ivy
- Areca palms
- Aloe vera
- Peace lilies
Air pollution isn’t the only type of pollution plants can help filter out. In a blog article for HuffPost, Kenneth Freeman – Head of Innovation for Ambius – let people know plants can reduce indoor noise pollution, too.
In his article, Freeman said house plants can help absorb, deflect, and reflect sound. Unwanted noises can be absorbed by a plant’s stem, leaves, branches, and wood; deflected by a plant’s flexible materials; and refracted by plants covering surface areas, such as vines growing on walls.
Freeman also shared some tips for people looking to cut down on noise indoors with help from house plants:
- Since compost and top dressing help plants cut down on noise, use large plant containers if you can.
- Arranging different types of plants in groups apparently helps reduce noise more effectively than using standalone plants. Also, placing several small arrangements in a room is more effective than a single large arrangement.
- Trying to decide where to put plants in your room? Putting them near edges and corners is your best bet in terms of noise reduction.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home – and dealing with workplace stress at home – has become more common than ever. Sound familiar? If so, there’s good news: house plants might be able to help you deal with that, too.
Earlier this year, Psych Central reported that researchers at Awaji, Japan’s University of Hyogo studied the use of house plants to enhance office workers’ mental health. The study involved 63 workers in Japan, who were told to take a three-minute rest at their desks when they noticed the effects of fatigue.
For part of the study, these workers took breaks without plants as a control period; then, in an intervention period, they were able to look at and take care of small plants during their breaks. During both the control and intervention periods, the researchers kept tabs on the workers’ psychological stress levels by using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
The results were clear: both active and passive involvement with plants in an office setting helped workers deal with stress and fatigue. With that in mind, a house plant or two might be just what your home office is missing!
An Apple Tree a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Wondering how house plants can enhance your physical health? Here’s just some of the benefits listed by WebMD:
- Allergy relief. Rooms with house plants tend to have lower levels of dust and mold than those without, since plants’ leaves can help filter these particles out of the air.
- Extra humidity, which can lower your likelihood of catching a cold or the flu during the winter months. In one study, a spider plant collection helped to increase a bedroom’s relative humidity by 10%!
- Easy home remedies. Aloe can be used to help soothe sunburns and skin conditions, and its juice can even help relieve constipation.
- Enhanced sleep. Some plants, like gerbera daisies, continue to give off oxygen at night; this extra oxygen might help you get better sleep.
There’s no doubt that house plants are a great way to decorate your space – we created a whole home décor brand inspired by them, after all! But they’re also so much more than that. Whether you’re looking to lower your stress levels, keep things quiet, or stay healthy, odds are good that there’s a plant that can help.
Do you know any other benefits house plants have to offer? If you do, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear about it!