3 Science-Backed Reasons to Fall in Love with Houseplants!

If you’ve ever wondered whether owning houseplants is good for you then you’ve come to the right place!

Today we are going to discuss 3 research-backed ways that owning houseplants can positively impact your life.

Before we dive into the 3 reasons, I want to share that you don’t have to own a houseplant to achieve these results.

Research indicates that you can have the same benefits if you:

  • Take walks or spend time outdoors in green spaces
  • Look out windows into greenery
  • Observe photos of nature

So, if owning houseplants isn’t something that interests you, there are still plenty of ways for you to be positively affected by nature.

Also, you don’t need to own a certain number of houseplants to qualify for these benefits. Any number of houseplants that makes you feel good about the space you spend time in is the right number for you!

Table of Contents

#1 Houseplants Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Research finds that looking at houseplants can lower your blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and lower your heartrate.

These physical changes increase your feelings of relaxation, calm, and security, which allow you to feel happier and healthier.

“In a now-classic laboratory experiment by Roger Ulrich of Texas A&M University and colleagues, participants who first viewed a stress-inducing movie, and were then exposed to color/sound videotapes depicting natural scenes, showed much quicker, more complete recovery from stress than those who’d been exposed to videos of urban settings.”

Jill Suttie, Psy. D, How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, and More Creative, Greater Good Magazine from Berkley University, Source

Watering and caring for houseplants can also function as a type of meditation where you are able to clear your mind and stay in the present moment, reducing worry, frustration, and rumination.

While this benefit is supported by scientific research, houseplants are not a replacement for seeing a doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist to gain professional assistance in challenging times.

#2 Houseplants Increase Creativity, Productivity, and Focus

“Behind the visible spheres of the external architecture, Amazon is looking to use the inside to create natural spaces which will inspire its employees. […]

And it is not the only large company going for this new office model.

[Google] is designing its new headquarters as a way of working among nature, with office modules draped with vines and climbing plants, allowing staff to work with their laptops beneath the trees.”

Arantxa Herranz, Green spaces are gaining ground, also in the work environment, Ferrovial, Source

Want to see what Amazon’s headquarters look like? Check out the brief video below to take a tour of the amazing spheres.

Why would big companies spend the time and funding to incorporate green spaces into their offices?

Not only does being around nature reduce stress, it also increases productivity and creativity!

In fact, studies have found that offices with plants can improve creativity and productivity by more than 40% and can increase memory retention by as much as 20% (Source: University of Exeter).

How do plants increase creativity and productivity?

Experiencing nature allows your focus to shift away from something specific (like the big project you are working on in the office).

Instead you can focus on the way the leaves move on a tree when the breeze blows or the way a flower begins to emerge from a bud.

This type of focus requires much less effort, allowing your brain to relax and restore itself, providing new space for creative thinking and renewed energy allowing for greater productivity.

The Attention Restoration Theory (ART) encapsulates the positive effects of allowing our brains to restore themselves through relaxed attention (referred to as soft fascination by the Kaplans) and was developed by Stephen and Rachel Kaplan, Psychology Professors at the University of Michigan.

Read more about Attention Restoration Theory in an article by PositivePsychology.com

#3 Houseplants Increase Well-Being and Physical Health

Houseplants do not just have powerful effects at home and in the office, but also for patients in medical facilities.

Studies show that hospital patients placed in rooms with plants or flowers recovered more quickly, experienced less pain, felt more positive about their experience at the hospital, and felt better overall (both physically and emotionally). (Source: 10.1089/acm.2009.0075)

Did you know that surrounding yourself with nature can boost your immune system and even fight cancer? It’s true!

There has been a lot of research done on the effects of forest-bathing (Shinrin-yoku), the Japanese practice of immersing oneself into nature for therapeutic and healing purposes.

What is Forest-Bathing?
The Global Wellness Institute explains: “Forest bathing and forest therapy (or shinrin-yoku) broadly means taking in, in all of one’s senses, the forest atmosphere.

Not simply a walk in the woods, it is the conscious and contemplative practice of being immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the forest.” (Source)

Trees and plants produce natural oils as a part of their defense system called Phytoncides. Being exposed to these natural oils, along with the clearer, more oxygenated air has been proven to reduce blood pressure, boost immune system functioning, and reduce stress.

The effects of forest-bathing are so powerful that studies have recorded positive changes in a person’s Natural Killer Cells count after a trip into the forest. Natural Killer (NK) cells are cells that fight cancer and other dangerous attackers in the body).

“Because NK cells can kill tumor cells by releasing anti-cancer proteins, such as perforin, GRN, and GrA/B, and forest bathing trips increase NK activity and the intracellular level of anti-cancer proteins, the above findings suggest that forest bathing trips may have a preventive effect on cancer generation and development.”

Dr. Qing Li, Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function, NCBI, Source

How does this relate to houseplants?

While many of us may not be able to walk in a forest on a regular basis, we can provide ourselves similar experiences by adding houseplants in our home and even diffusing oils emitted by trees and plants in the forest to boost your immune system.

What essential oils are recommended? Dr. Qing Li says that the best oils are those which come from trees, like pine and cedar.

Want to read more about forest-bathing? Check out Dr. Qing Li’s book below on Amazon. It’s a quick, but interesting read that I highly recommend!

Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li (linked to Amazon)

And most importantly, if you have been considering adding a houseplant to your home, I hope this post has given you some extra motivation to introduce more greenery into your life! Happy Growing!

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