Have you been feeling a little down in the dumps lately? Maybe you’re tired because you’ve not been sleeping well, or you’re just in a low mood and can’t quite put your finger on the reason why.
There are many things you can do to boost your mood – eating a healthy diet, spending time with people you love, and getting plenty of exercise are all a great start. But have you considered that your environment may be affecting your mood?
Decorating your home with plants can be a surprisingly effective way to boost your mental and physical health, making you feel more relaxed, and generally happier.
It may seem unbelievable that something so small could have such a big impact on your wellbeing, but there have been many scientific studies into plants for people suffering from stress or health issues, and the evidence is clear – plants make you feel better!
Humans have known for many thousands of years that being in nature can help you to relax and feel less stress. These days many of us live in urban environments with little opportunity for interaction with nature, but we can still create green spaces indoors with a home of houseplants.
Living room plants are on trend right now, with varieties like the Fiddle Leaf Fig and Monstera or Swiss Cheese Plant popping up all over Instagram. But good plants for indoors don’t only look attractive in your home, but they can have a hugely positive effect on your wellbeing too.
Gardening has been shown to reduce stress and depression as it has a therapeutic effect that’s almost like meditation. If you’re a city dweller or just don’t have time for full-on gardening, bringing it indoors on a smaller scale and caring for some indoor plants will have a similar effect.
Some research has shown that houseplants can reduce stress levels by up to 40%. As humans we instinctively react in a positive way to greenery and anything natural, and the act of watering and taking care of plants can impact your mental health in a positive way too.
Even the colour of plants is relaxing – green is known to be soothing and tranquil and is often used for its calming effect. If you don’t fancy painting your whole living room green, consider adding a few houseplants instead.
If you’ve been struggling with insomnia or feeling unsettled at night, you might want to think about bringing a few plants into the bedroom.
Plants can aid a restful sleep in several ways: they can improve the air quality of your home, promote relaxation, and increase humidity, which helps you to breathe better while you’re asleep.
Certain plants have additional sleep-inducing qualities. The Valerian plant is known for improving sleep quality and is a popular herbal remedy for insomnia. The scent of lavender can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure and can help you to get a restful night’s sleep.
An indoor plant in the bedroom looks attractive on your nightstand but is practical too. Give it a try for a few weeks and see if your sleep improves.
Houseplants don’t only have a positive effect on your mental health – they can help to improve your physical health too.
Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen in the process of photosynthesis. High levels of carbon dioxide or CO2 make a room feel “stuffy” and cause fatigue, poor concentration, and even headaches and nausea.
As well as helping to lower levels of CO2 in the air, healthy indoor plants can filter other toxins from the air such as mould and volatile organic compounds (VOC).
Poor indoor air quality is known to cause several health problems such as allergy symptoms, breathing difficulties, headaches, and “sick building syndrome”. Adding some healthy plants around your home can improve the quality of the air and may help to relieve these symptoms.
Some indoor plants that are good for health include Spider Plants, Weeping Fig, Boston Fern, Aloe Vera, Bamboo Palm, English Ivy, and Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. All these plants are highly effective at filtering CO2 and other toxins from the air, and they can help to increase humidity too.
Not only do houseplants help your physical health by improving the air quality in your home, but they can also help you to recover faster from physical illness and injury.
There’s a good reason why flowers are such a popular gift to bring someone in hospital. Studies have shown that just being around plants can help you to heal faster from injuries. A clinical trial into patients recovering from surgery found that close proximity to indoor plants improved health outcomes and reduced the recovery period.
Some plants are also handy to have around for their medicinal properties. Aloe vera is great for the skin and can be used to treat cuts, burns, and rashes. The Calendula flower (Marigold) is also known for its healing properties and it can be used to treat skin conditions, heal wounds, and soothe insect bites.