Adults happier when surrounded by houseplants
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Houseplants are a great way to get to grips with gardening when the cold weather makes outdoor pursuits more difficult. But it isn’t just a little bit of pleasant greenery that houseplants can bring to your home.
According to studies, houseplants could also have a positive impact on mental health.
During the winter months, cases of seasonal affective disorder skyrocket, with many people reporting symptoms of the condition often referred to as “winter depression”.
Though buying a houseplant is certainly not a cure for the toll mental health can take, there is evidence to suggest that plants could be helpful in some ways.
A 2015 study published by scientists in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that there is a link between plants and a feeling of comfort.
The scientists said they were researching whether it may be possible that “interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress”.
According to Health Line, the study concluded that plants in a home or office environment could result in people feeling more “comfortable and soothed”.
As part of the study, participants were asked to either take part in repotting a houseplant or completing a short computer-based task.
By measuring factors associated with stress, such as heart rate and blood pressure, they found levels were greatly reduced by partaking in plant-related activities.
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Plants have also been found to help reduce symptoms of people suffering from mental illness.
Horticultural therapy is one way in which researchers have tried to find ways of increasing “feelings of well-being” among those suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
In fact, in 2019, Our Healthier Manchester reported on a GP practice in the region which was offering pot plants as a therapeutic activity to patients suffering from anxiety, depression or loneliness.
The plants given to patients included herbs such as lemon balm and catmint, which the practices’ medical secretary noted “all have mindful qualities”.
Dr Philippa James, one of the surgery’s GPs, said: “I’ve seen how our patients relax in the garden – and how they then get involved in wider events like picking litter, which all adds to pride in our area.”
“There’s a lot of evidence now about how two hours a week in a green space can lift mood – and then that too has physical, mental and emotional benefits.”
According to studies, caring for plants can reduce psychological stress and sympathetic nervous system activity.
There is also some evidence to suggest plants can make us feel more attentive, increase memory span and even boost creativity.
Looking for a new home, or just fancy a look? Add your postcode below or visit InYourArea
Five great houseplants for beginners include:
- Boston Fern
- Parlour Palm
- Snake Plant
- Neon Pothos
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