Plants are our natural partners. If the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and outdoor therapy trends aren’t proof enough of this, the way we breathe should be. As we spend increasing amounts of time indoors, indoor plants and houseplants provide emotional, physical, and mental health benefits that set us up for a happier life.
We’ve known our reliance on plants since elementary school: we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide while plants breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. It’s a symbiotic relationship that’s breathtaking in its simplicity and necessity.
Yet despite this reliance and thanks to our culture of “nine to five,” we spend nearly 90% of our time indoors. By incorporating nature into our modern existence as indoor plants or “houseplants,” we can counteract our largely indoor existence and reap the immense benefits of being close to plants.
Here are 3 ways having indoor plants in your home, bedroom, or office space will benefit you.
1. Improve Air Quality
Plants are the ultimate purifiers. Research by NASA reveals that houseplants will remove up to 87% of air toxins every 24 hours. They remove volatile organic compounds by pulling contaminants into the soil, where they then convert them into food. Houseplants can negate cigarette smoke (the peace lily is particularly great for this) and reduce the negative impact of paint fumes, inks, and other man-made fibers.
Additionally, plants release about 97% of the water they take in. In other words, they’re natural (and inexpensive) humidifiers. As plants breathe and create food, they release moisture in the form of vapor, which will prevent dryness and ward off cold and flu symptoms.
At night, many plants stop photosynthesis and therefore stop releasing oxygen. However, there are a few plants that continue to release oxygen during the night. So if you’re looking to add green to your bedroom and improve your night’s sleep, pick from among these plants! Orchids, succulents, snake plants, and bromeliads are great examples of this and will serve you well on your bedside table.
2. Heal the Body & Mind
Experiments conducted at hospitals show that patients with plants in their rooms had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates than patients who didn’t. If they had a plant, they also recovered faster and were generally released earlier than the opposite.
We don’t know why indoor plants are healing. We just know that they are. You can choose plants like indoor herbs which have specific health benefits based on the variety. However, a simple spider plant can still increase your physical health and impart benefits.
Additionally, plants can make you happier in the same way an emotional support dog can. When you bring plants indoors, you can reap the rewards of nature-therapy without being outside. Plants reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and self-esteem, and increase your feelings of optimism and control. They’ll also ease depression and promote a general sense of well-being.
In the workspace alone, indoor plants reduced anxiety by 37% and reduced depression by 58%. So wherever you put them, houseplants help nurture your emotional health and leave you feeling better, happier, and ready to take on the world.
3. Increase Creativity & Focus
Studies show that having indoor plants can improve concentration and productivity by up to 15%. Thanks to plants’ ability to purify the air and increase the amount of oxygen in a room, houseplants help you focus and increase your mental acuity. Plants’ leaves also absorb, diffract, or reflect background noise, thereby heightening your attention (and making them great for office spaces).
Furthermore, plants spur on our creative power. When we see nature, our brains begin to process information differently, therefore stimulating the creation of new ideas. As such, adding a few plants to your indoor view can increase your productivity and creativity!
Having indoor plants will make you happier and healthier, but don’t take our word for it. Try out indoor greenery and let us know how you feel! @gardenuity