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House Plants: A Surprising Way to Handle Stress

How a little green can give you peace of mind

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We are living in anxious times.

From a global pandemic, to police brutality, to racial tensions, to collapsing economies, it’s safe to say that 2020 it a tough year for most of us. Having reliable, healthy stress relievers at your disposal is vital now more than ever.

What if I told you there’s a cheap, easy way to keep calm that you probably hadn’t considered?

Well, you read the title. The answer you may be looking for is; house plants. Most people think of them as living ornaments, but they can do a lot more than just decorate your home. If you’ve had trouble maintaining calmness, composure or simply getting work done, here are a couple of benefits you should know about house plants;

1. Mood boosters

Do you ever feel a sense of peace when you walk through nature? Well, that’s not a coincidence. Plants naturally release essential oils called phytoncides which have been scientifically proven to have a stress-relieving effect. By incorporating plants into your indoor spaces, you can quite literally bring good vibes into the room.

In fact, an entire type of therapy, horticultural therapy, has been based on this. Even better news for you is that it’s not only the plant that can help your mood. The soil you plant them in has some pretty tantalizing properties too. M. vaccae, a microbe found in soil or your everyday compost pile, increases the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in humans. Basically, it’s nature’s happiness drug.

2. Clean the air

Research from NASA has shown that regular houseplants can to a great deal to purify the air around you. They can remove up to 87% of toxins from the air in only 24 hours!

What your science teacher taught you as a kid was right: plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. That means that on top of removing toxins, they also improve air quality even on a purely physical basis. Sounds like breath of fresh air to me!

3. Reduce anxiety and depression

The physiological benefits of house plants naturally seep into the mental sphere. Their ability to help in mood regulation helps combat some of the effects of mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Several toxins in the air are also linked to these disorders, and houseplants can help you get rid of them.

During the Corona virus pandemic, the anxiety and stress levels have increased by almost 50%. While it’s important to seek medical diagnosis and professional help to deal with serious mental health issues, small changes to your life can be a great help. Getting a houseplant is a great small addition that may help you in a big way.

4. Focus, memory, and attention span

Being around the positive effects of indoor plants can help you focus more on tasks and be more productive. If you spend a lot of time in an office, it would be a great idea to get a plant for your desk that can thrive even with minimal light.

If nothing else, having a plant is a great motivator to get out of bed in the morning. At the back of your mind you know that you have another living creature to care for that is your responsibility. In the long run, this can even increase your sense of compassion and empathy.

Beginner plants

So at this point you may be wondering what plants to get if you have no experience. Here are a few low-maintenance plants you can start with;

Succulents and cacti are great beginner plants because they’re low maintenance, take up very little space and are simple to propagate.

Snake plants take up more space but are resilient and also easy to care for.

Pothos are another popular houseplant. They have large leaves and vines and make great hanging plants.

And there you have it! You could be a few plant pots away from tranquility.

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