20 Apr How houseplants help with overcoming anxiety
It’s widely accepted that houseplants are good for both our physical and mental health. Numerous scientific studies have shown that introducing houseplants into your home or workspace can help with overcoming anxiety and generally boosting your mood.
What’s more, as we transition into spring and are blessed with longer days and a little more sunshine, now is the perfect time to invest in some plant friends!
Whether you’re completely new to indoor gardening, have a fairly unsuccessful history of owning houseplants or are a green-thumbed aficionado looking to expand your collection, we’ll explain how you can grow things in a small space and improve your mental health at the same time.
We all suffer from stress and low mood occasionally: it’s normal to have moments when you feel like everything’s getting on top of you, or days when you feel a bit down in the dumps.
A smorgasbord of variables can affect our levels of anxiety and general happiness. Physical health, personal circumstances and hormones all play a part, as well as lifestyle factors like diet, exercise and alcohol consumption.
Coping with these feelings
Just as a long list of factors affect our mood, there are many ways to tackle stress and mild anxiety. Lifestyle adjustments such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy balanced diet, taking a natural herbal medicine and making sure you make time to wind down all really help.
Another tried and tested mood-booster is tending houseplants. Most people recognise how vital plants are to our physical health – after all, they provide us with oxygen to breathe!
However, fewer people know about the mental health benefits of bringing plants inside.
Why houseplants improve your mood
Various studies have attempted to put their finger on just why plants are such good mood boosters. One Japanese study suggests that just looking at a plant can help to improve mental health at work. Researchers found that people who kept a small plant on their desk had lower levels of anxiety and stress at the end of four-weeks than colleagues without a plant.
Explanations range from the calming effect of the colour green, to the emotional satisfaction you get from successfully caring for plants and the relaxing effects of some floral scents.
Top tips for growing mood-boosting houseplants
A lack of success in the past often puts people off owning or trying to grow houseplants, but in the age of the internet, there’s a wealth of information available at your fingertips. Expert indoor gardeners love sharing their top tips!
Blogs, Facebook groups, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram are great places to start if you want to swot up on plant care. But if you’re just looking for a quick guide, we’ve whittled down some of our favourite plant lovers’ top tips below.
Always read the label
Most houseplants will come with a care label. Keep this. It will tell you vital information about where to place and how to care for your new plant. For indoor plants, you want to pay particular attention to the watering and lighting requirements.
Less is more
For most species, it’s better to under-water than over-water. A tried and tested way to tell if a potted plant needs watering is by sticking your finger around an inch into the soil. If it’s dry that far down, give it some water.
Maximise your space
Don’t worry if you’re short on space – there are plenty of ways to work with what you’ve got. Shelves, picture ledges and hanging planters are great for homes or offices which are tight on space.
Don’t forget the bathroom
One room which is often overlooked when hunting for a safe home for your houseplants is the bathroom. In fact, for many species of indoor plants, a humid bathroom is the best place!
Keep the plastic pot
You may be tempted to ditch the original plastic pot that your plant comes in and repot it into something more stylish. Don’t, as the drainage holes are important to help the roots to breathe. Instead, just place the original pot inside the decorative pot.
Five houseplants with mental health benefits
1 – Jasmine will help you sleep better.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may struggle to cope with stress and anxiety. Jasmine’s characteristic sweet fragrance could help you get a good night’s rest.
2 – Lavender can lower stress and anxiety.
As well as smelling beautiful, Lavender can dispel stress and anxiety.
3 – Pothos are great for beginners.
If you’ve struggled to keep houseplants alive in the past, a Pothos is a fabulous option. These pretty vines have been shown to improve air quality which can, in turn, improve sleep quality.
4 – Money Plants can reduce anxiety.
As well as filtering the air, some experts believe Money Plants can have a positive effect on anxiety. If you’re into your Feng Shui, try placing one in the corner of a room.
5 – Chamomile will have a calming effect.
Again, this plant is found relaxing herbal teas for good reason. Add simple-to-grow Chamomile to any room to eliminate stress. Plus, those sunshine yellow centres are bound to put a smile on your face!
Another natural treatment for stress and low mood
St John’s Wort is a plant with star-shaped, yellow flowers. It has been used for hundreds of years by people all over the planet to treat mild depression and anxiety.
The mental health charity MIND says on its website, “Research suggests that, in some cases, St John’s wort might be just as effective as some antidepressant drugs to treat mild or moderate depression. It may also cause fewer or less intense side effects than commonly prescribed antidepressants.” However, you should always see a doctor if you are concerned that you may be depressed.
HRI Good Mood™ St John’s Wort provides the highest daily dose available in the UK in just two tablets, offering a quick and simple way to help relieve a slightly low mood or mild anxiety.
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash