We all love the aesthetic of foliage inside our homes, but what if the very plants you loved looking at, improved your health as well?
It is well known that plants have a direct influence on our well-being. After all, they do help convert carbon dioxide into clean oxygen – an incredible feat that is much needed in our heavily polluted, over-populated world.
Not so surprisingly, recent studies have suggested that indoor plants fight sadness and improve our overall well-being. This is good news, considering many of us spend over 80% of our lives indoors (especially those of us that live in colder climates in the winter!).
Why Plants Improve Mood
There are many reasons why plants might improve our mood. To make it easier, I’ll outline the reasons below:
1. Aesthetically pleasing: house plants add a nice balance of colour to just about any room. The colour green is also very calming and grounding, and is even quite stress-reducing. Flowering plants in particular have been found to significantly reduce stress levels. The natural aesthetic beauty of flowers have a soothing effect on our brain, and at the same time help lower high levels of stress and anxiety (1).
2. Need to be loved: plants need to be taken care of to grow and thrive, and the simple act of being a caretaker has a positive effect on our psyche. One study found that those who spend extended periods of time in the presence of plants tend to have better relationships with other people and therefore experience increased levels of happiness (2).
Those who spend more time around plants are more likely to help and care for others, and are more willing to reach out to their fellow humans to form stronger bonds. Caring for a living plant also gives us purpose and is rewarding – especially when you see that living thing bloom and thrive.
3. Filter polluted air: air pollutants put stress on our body and make us feel less than great about ourselves. By helping filter our airborne pollutants, plants improve indoor air quality, which is associated with improvements in physical health.
5 Indoor Plants That Fight Sadness
While any plant will help boost your mood and filter out airborne pollutants, these 5 indoor plants that fight sadness are some of the best.
1. Peace Lily
Peace lilies are beautiful plants that are easy to care for and produce amazing flowers. They’re at the top of NASA’s list of beneficial greens that help detox the air of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and ammonia. Keep this plant in a room where you spend most of your time – like the bedroom or living room – so you can benefit from its toxin-destroying powers.
Keep this plant well watered and fertilize every 6-8 weeks to encourage flowers to emerge and bloom.
2. Spider Plant
One of the most popular indoor plants, spider plants not only look great, but are especially good at absorbing mould and allergens from the air. They’re also effective at fighting pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. For these reasons, spider plants do well just about anywhere in the house. If you have a particularly high-humidity area in the home, the plant would perform well to reduce mould growth.
Provide spider plants with well-drained soil, and bright, indirect light. Unlike most plants, spider plants prefer to dry out between waterings.
This heart-shaped plant is quite popular, given it is easy to care for and can grow decorative vines. These plants are particularly good at absorbing xylene, a chemical commonly used in wall paint and cleaning supplies. They’re also good at absorbing high levels of formaldehyde from the air (similar to peace lilies!).
This plant requires a warm spot with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Don’t water them too often – you’ll know when to re-water when the top layer of soil starts to dry out.
4. English Ivy
This wandering vine is not only pleasing to the eye, but it is particularly useful in eliminating airborne faecal-matter particles. It is also great for homes who house smokers, as they have the ability to soak up carcinogens from second-hand smoke.
This plant doesn’t require much maintenance, but be sure you keep it away from your cat and dog, as it is poisonous to them!
5. Boston Fern
Like the ivy, boston ferns are particularly great at filtering the air. In fact, they can remove up to 1863 toxins per hour. That’s definitely something that will help give you peace of mind. The cleaner the air is in your home, the more happier you’ll be! Indoor air pollution creates nasty symptoms that none of us have the time or patience to deal with. The better you feel physically, the better you’ll feel mentally.
This plant needs a cool place with high humidity and indirect light. If you live in a particularly dry area, make sure to provide additional humidity for them, especially in the winter.
Other Health Benefits of Indoor Plants
Based on several experimental studies, the presence of potted plants has been found to be helpful in a variety of different settings (like work, school, hospitals, etc.). Aside from improving mood, plants have also been shown to…
• Lower blood pressure (systolic)
• Improve reaction times
• Increase attentiveness
• Improve attendance (at work and school)
• Raise productivity (at work)
• Improve perceptions of the space
• Lower levels of anxiety during recovery from surgery
• Raise job satisfaction
What plants do you keep at home? Do you feel that they’re an integral part of your lives? I personally love my plants, and feel that each one has a different personality and purpose. Let my know by leaving a comment in the comments section below!