9 Ways Your Houseplants Can Increase Your Happiness

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9 reasons houseplants make you happy.

You spend a great deal of time coming up with the perfect décor scheme for your house including details like color palettes, furniture, and accents. While certain items or spaces in your home may spark joy, nothing breathes life into a home like a houseplant. Houseplants enliven a home with natural beauty but that isn’t their only benefit – keeping houseplants can actually improve your mental and physical health. Best of all, you don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy them!

Though certain houseplants require a significant degree of care, there are many that require little more than weekly watering and a little sunlight. Whether you’re an amateur gardener or a crazy plant lady, there are plenty of benefits waiting to be discovered. Here are 9 reasons houseplants make you happy.

  1. Houseplants help improve your mental health.

If you’re feeling lonely, anxious, or depressed, you might consider getting a pet to keep you company, but pets are a big responsibility. A houseplant requires significantly less time and care but can provide a similar benefit. Studies show that people who spend more time outside around plants have a more positive outlook on life and better mental wellness.[1] It may seem silly that something so simply could yield such significant results, but you may be pleasantly surprised when you try it for yourself.

  1. They create a healthier environment in your home.

Not only do houseplants brighten up your home but they may actually make it a healthier environment in which to live. Plants help eliminate pollutants from the air, improving air quality in a process known as phytoremediation. Early scientific support for phytoremediation comes from a study conducted by NASA in the 1980s. Researchers found that the soil and roots of houseplants significantly reduced airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and more recent evidence has confirmed these findings.[2][3] The key to improving air quality in your home with houseplants is to cultivate a large number of plants, especially species like Boston fern, rubber tree, and spider plant.

  1. Keeping houseplants increases attentiveness and improves memory.

Houseplants add color and life to a home, but they also make an excellent addition to the home office. Being around plants has been shown to increase concentration and may improve memory and attention span by as much as 20%, according to some research.[4] Other research suggests including natural elements in your work environment may also improve job satisfaction.[5]

  1. Caring for houseplants can reduce stress and anxiety.

If stress is a constant in your life, you’re not alone. Making time for self-care and engaging in relaxing activities like meditation and yoga can help, but so can keeping plants in your home or office. Research shows people who spend time cultivating plants tend to have lower levels of stress overall, possibly because the act of caring for plants suppresses the sympathetic nervous system.[6] Working with plants may promote natural, relaxed, and comfortable feelings.

  1. Having plants in your home can enhance your mood.

You may not be consciously aware of it all the time, but the environment in which you spend your time can impact your mood and your mental health. The results of a 2016 study show that including plants in a home or work environment can enhance mood.[7] This same study also supports claims that plants have a positive impact on attention and stress levels. If your home doesn’t get enough light to keep houseplants happy, consider using artificial light.

  1. Houseplants can boost productivity and sharpen your focus.

Businesses are always on the lookout for ways to improve employee productivity and the answer may be as simple as decorating the office with plants. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, keeping houseplants in a home or business environment can enhance productivity and sharpen focus.[8] The theory of attention restoration suggests simply looking at images of nature can affect the brain’s processing mode, supporting relaxation and concentration.[9]

  1. Keeping houseplants may spark creativity.

Not only can keeping houseplants increase your productivity in a home or business environment, but it may affect your creativity as well. Scientists have long understood that humans have an innate desire to connect with nature – this is called the theory of biophilia. Research from a 2015 report also shows that employees whose office space contains natural elements like plants scored an average of 15% higher for creativity than those who don’t.[10]

  1. Caring for houseplants can help improve your relationships.

The act of nurturing a houseplant can be rewarding in many ways, including teaching you valuable skills you can apply to your human relationships. Caring for houseplants may increase your empathy toward others and teach you how to be gentle, patient, and understanding. Get started with some beginner-friendly houseplants and up your game as your skills improve.

  1. Having houseplants may help speed recovery and healing.

When you’re visiting someone in the hospital, what do you typically bring? Some people bring balloons or snacks, but flowers and other plants are a common gift. Not only can plants brighten up a dreary hospital room but looking at plants could actually speed the recovery and healing process. According to a 2002 research review, patients who had views of plants and gardens during recovery needed less pain medication and had shorter hospital stays than other patients.[11] Other studies show that simply having a live plant in the room is correlated with improvements in blood pressure, pain, anxiety, and fatigue. Patients who had plants in their rooms also reported reduced stress levels and more positive feelings.[12]

Keeping houseplants is a hobby you can grow into. If you’re not sure where to start, choose something simple that doesn’t require a lot of attention like a succulent, a corn plant (Dracaena fragrans), or a peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii). As your knowledge of plant care blooms, you may choose to expand your collection and, in return, you’ll be rewarded with the benefits above as well as the satisfaction of nurturing another living thing.

 

[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3

[2] https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077

[3] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15287394.2012.721169

[4] https://news.umich.edu/going-outsideeven-in-the-coldimproves-memory-attention/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4877070/

[6] https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

[7] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261513561_The_Effects_of_The_Number_of_Indoor_Foliage_Plants_on_Productivity_Stress_and_Attention

[8] https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-30837-001

[9] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0272494495900012

[10] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-study-connects-levels-of-employee-productivity-and-well-being-to-office-design-300058034.html

[11] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/252307449_Health_Benefits_of_Gardens_in_Hospitals

[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19715461/

houseplants increase happiness

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