We all know that houseplants can help to cleanse the air and brighten up a room, but they can also benefit your mental health too.
Study shows houseplants relieve lockdown stress
Staying home may be one of the most effective and most important actions that we can take to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But, all the hours trapped inside, away from both nature and our social circles, can leave us feeling stressed, anxious and depressed. Luckily Scientists at the University of Seville in Spain have found that having plants around the house could help to relieve lockdown stress.
The study took the form of a questionnaire involving 4,205 people from 46 countries, all of which experienced a lockdown from March - June 2020. People were asked about their lockdown experience, how long they had been confined for as well as how it had impacted their mental wellbeing. Then, participants were also asked to describe their surroundings including the number of plants and outdoor spaces in their home.
Out of the thousands of respondents, 75% claimed that having a houseplant had a positive impact on their emotional mental health. Co-author of the study Professor Luis Pérez-Urrestarazu explained:
The present study evaluated the role of having plants at home during the confinement period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that deprived people of freely visiting open green spaces. Having indoor plants was correlated with more positive emotions, and confined inhabitants allocated more time for plant maintenance.
The study also showed that a whole 55.8% of respondents would have wanted even more plants in their homes during lockdown. Around 54% admitted to spending more time looking after their plants during this time also, while a further 40% revealed that they want more plants in the future.
On the other hand, those who didn’t have any houseplants at all (3.3%) were more likely to experience negative feelings during the lockdown. The same was also true for those living in small houses with less light and for those who didn’t get the chance to visit many green spaces before lockdown began. Professor Pérez-Urrestarazu continued:
The Covid-19 pandemic emerged as a unique and global crisis that deprived people worldwide from the possibility of visiting public green spaces for a prolonged period of time, which extended to more than six weeks. Our study shows that, according to the majority of participants, vegetation in indoor living spaces positively influenced their emotional well-being during the confinement period.
Plants can also relieve workplace fatigue
This isn’t the first study surrounding the mental health benefits of plants. Previous studies have shown that houseplants can reduce tension in people by around 40%. Wellness expert Emma Mills told Marie Claire:
By bringing the outside in and enriching our indoor spaces with houseplants, this reminds us of a natural simple way of living. A pace of life that is slower yet still incredibly intelligent, beautiful and efficient.
Other studies have also taken plants into the workplace. A Japanese study published in the American Society for Horticultural Science found that nature can serve as an antidote to work-related stress and fatigue. In the study, workers took breaks whenever they felt too stressed out and spent just three minutes looking and tending to their plants. Results showed that 27% of participants’ heart rate dropped by the end of their ‘plant break’ while most participants’ feelings of anxiety had also eased.
If these studies have proven anything, it’s that it’s time to cover our homes in plants!