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How Having Houseplants Lowers Your Stress & Improves Your Mental Health

By Krista

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Last Updated: March 3, 2022

As soon as the pandemic hit, one of the first things I did was adorn my new apartment with various plants — and even a tree.

Being stuck inside all the time was already starting to drive me insane, so I decided to bring a little bit of the outdoors indoors. Plus, taking care of another living thing brought me tons of comfort amongst the chaos.

And the research is in: Indoor plants have the potential to reduce physiological and psychological stress. So, let’s dig into this topic a bit more! How do houseplants lower your stress and improve your mental health?

 

Plants and Mental Health Research: Do Plants Improve Mood?

Audrey Hepburn once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

After all, someone has to be there to tend to that garden and care for it in order for those plants to not only survive but thrive.

In a scientific study published in 2015, researchers explored the link between indoor plants and mental health. When compared with mental work, these houseplants (and caring for them!) offered participants comfort and relaxation. 

In fact, researchers discovered that these plants calmed the sympathetic nervous system and lowered blood pressure.

Another recent 2020 study further outlined how indoor plants provided stress-reducing benefits to office workers, which helped combat stress-related fatigue.

So, the verdict here? Plants can definitely improve your mood by lowering the stress response and offering soothing relaxation benefits. Yet, what plants should you look into?

 

Plants for Emotional Healing

Alright, so our natural environment undeniably has an impact on our mood and mental wellness. So, what are some plants you should consider to really amp up your own emotional healing? We’ve got a few ideas!

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is already a popular choice for beauty and wellness products and routines. Plus, it’s low-maintenance, meaning you don’t need to worry too much about being a plant expert. In fact, you really only need to water this one once every three weeks.

If you haven’t already heard, taking care of your physical health is just as important when it comes to your emotional and mental health. And aloe vera has a range of benefits including reducing skin inflammation, stimulating collagen production, improving dental health, and even lowering blood pressure.

2. Air-Purifying Plants

 For some, this one may have come out of left-field. But plants can really help purify your air! 

A NASA 1989 study on indoor plants noted how certain plants helped clear or “scrub” the air of formaldehyde and benzene. In other words, more plants could mean more breathable air for you and your roommates or family.

What plants help purify the air? There’s more than a few, including:

3. Herbs

Your houseplants don’t have to be restricted to the above. You can also tend to and care for herbs, then use them! 

Some popular herbs for emotional healing include:

  • Garden sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint
  • Basil
  • Thyme

Many of these you can use as balms, in baths, in teas, and more for optimal healing and calming effects. Even just smelling some of these herbs can offer psychological benefits. Various studies report that simply smelling lavender can induce relaxation effects. That’s powerful stuff!

Related Article: 9 Subconscious-Altering Methods That Can Help You Overcome Negative Thoughts

 

Indoor Plants That Help with Depression and Anxiety

So, what about houseplants specifically for depression and anxiety? Are there specific plants you should consider? Try these!

1. Jade

The jade plant is a popular choice in households due to its low maintenance watering and care routine. Similar to air-purifying plants above, the jade plant further offers a way to clean your air, specifically from paint or cleaning products, with next-to-no effort.

These extra chemicals in the air can seriously impact your physical and mental health. Thus, having plants around, like the jade plant, that purify the air are always a good choice for those with depression and anxiety.

2. English Ivy

English ivy is a beautiful growing vine, which frequently looks great when hanging from a high shelf or from a basket all its own. This plant can actually help reduce formaldehyde and airborne mold. These entities can aggravate insomnia, depression, and more, making it a great choice for those feeling mentally under the weather.

3. Chinese Evergreen

For those living in darker areas for large parts of the year, the Chinese evergreen is a low-light plant, which means it doesn’t require a ton of sun. This can add a bit of brightness into your indoor space during those gloomy months, as well as aid in filtering toxins out of the air.

Related Article: 4 Signs of Depression You May Not Recognize

 

Are Houseplants Good for Your Mental Health?

There’s only one way to find out! Find one or two that you love and would fit nicely into your home. Air-purifying plants combined with a look you like offer some of the greatest benefits.

As you might already know, additional stress on the body can greatly impact your mood. By having plants that help purify your air, you can reduce the stress in your life.

On top of this, the color green is largely associated with feelings of calm and tranquility. Thus, adding some natural greenery in your home never hurts. It can brighten and open up a space, helping you find that balance and helping you feel better!

Read Next: How Gardening Develops Your Child’s Mental Growth

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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