Aside from adding colour and texture to your home interiors, plants can provide a whole host of mental and physical health benefits. Our connection to nature as humans is undeniable, being more beneficial to our health than most of us realise. Like all living organisms, plants do, of course, have to be nurtured – but if you look after your plants well, they will look after you in return.
Reduce feelings of stress
In addition to looking after your overall wellbeing, exposure to plants can significantly reduce stress levels within the body. Simply touching or smelling your plants, and potting soil, can release feel-good hormones that work in a similar way to antidepressants, working to boost your mood. Heart health, muscle tension, brain activity and sleep patterns can also be improved by regular exposure to plants.
Plants are also known for their ability to improve cognitive skills, making us more productive and boosting our creative and problem-solving abilities.
Plants don’t stop at providing the body with mental health benefits. They’ve also been shown to boost the immune system, and speed up healing processes. This is, however, linked to the mental health benefits that plants provide, since improved sleeping patterns and reduced stress ultimately contribute to a better immune system.
Plants improve nutrient and positive hormone levels within the body by releasing airborne chemicals, which also works to strengthen the immune system. They’re also common in hospitals, since they have been shown to speed up patients’ recovery.
Plants work to naturally humidify the air through a process known as ‘transpiration’. The stomata of the plant, which can be found on the leaves, are small pores that release water vapour into the air. This is particularly beneficial for the home in the winter months, when the air is typically drier.
Improve air quality
It’s suggested that the air inside your home can be more harmful than that of the outdoors. Harmful toxins and chemicals find it harder to leave the home once they’ve entered it – and this can be responsible for the onset of colds and flu in the winter. Opening a window can help, but it won’t have a significant impact. One of the best ways you can filter out harmful toxins in your home is by distributing fresh plants, which work to absorb pollutants and clear the air.
Improve personal connections
Taking on the responsibility of nurturing a living organism, no matter how much work it takes, can instil feelings of purpose and a sense of compassion. Plants are easy to maintain, but watching them grow as a result of your care can be highly rewarding, and having another living organism in the home has been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness. These connections are often taken outside the home, with plant owners developing better social skills with others.
Plants have gained much more recognition in recent years for the health benefits they provide. If you live with children or pets, make sure to choose plants that are safe for their exposure.