By Angelica Bottaro

Mental health is a vital component when it comes to staying well. Research has found that around 1 in 4 people will suffer from some sort of mental health issue throughout their lives. Sometimes it’s just not enough to lead a good life, eat right, exercise, and practice self-care. 

With the COVID pandemic still going strong and issues piling up in the wake of the globally scaled virus, access to mental health programs could be limited. Unfortunately, now is when people need access more than ever before.

This leaves people with fewer options when it comes to taking care of their mind as well as their body. The good news is that there are ways to help promote an overall level of mental wellness—aside from fueling your body with the right things, moving around enough, and taking time to really check in with yourself. 

House plants may not seem like a décor accent that could lead to a bettered mental state, but you’d be surprised! It’s all about getting in touch with nature, even while you’re stuck inside your own head and house.

Say Goodbye To Stress With Greenery

Studies have shown that the simple act of spending time in nature can reduce overall stress by lowering heightened levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the blood. Those pesky hormones that lead to anxiety and agitation could come with being locked down with nowhere to go, and no one to see, raising them to a near-constant level. 

Being around nature can also boost the happy chemical dopamine and endorphins, leaving you feeling more chill and less out of sorts. When adding greenery to your home, choosing plants that bring you the most joy can help with getting back to nature while being stuck in the house.

Boost Your Mental Health Efforts 

If you’re like me and take care of your mental health daily through meditation or other means, adding some houseplants to the mix only increases the efficacy of programs you already have in place. Research shows that people undergoing cognitive behaviour therapy(CBT) had better results when the treatment took place in an arboretum. In the study, the participants were all diagnosed with major depression. Those who were around nature during their therapy sessions became much less depressed than those getting the same treatment in a different setting. 

This is seriously cool considering many people participate in some form of mental health treatment, but it’s often in a little therapist’s office with no green in sight. Adding an array of houseplants can make your efforts even more worthwhile.

Work From Home Like A Boss

For many people, the pandemic has led to remote work situations, and not everyone likes having to stay at home all day long. It’s hard to focus with other household chores looming in the background. And not having your workmates there to help pass the day can lead to a serious decrease in productivity.

Research has shown that greenery can increase both the drive and motivation at work as well as how well you concentrate on the task at hand. Having houseplants around can actually solve the many problems we can face when we’re stuck working from our home office day in and day out. 

You feel as though you’re getting way more stuff done, and when you feel productive, you feel better mentally. Creativity also seems to get a boost, so if your work requires you to think outside the box, having houseplants can fuel some great ideas.

What Plants Should You Get?

There are so many different houseplants to choose from; however, some provide more benefits than others. Certain plants will both look great and make you feel great. Some of the best plants for indoor use include aloe vera, snake plants, lavender, peace lilies, English ivy, jasmine, and red-edged dracaena.  

When you do take the plunge into plant-parenthood, you’ll want to take into consideration some factors. Is there enough sunlight? How much water will each plant need? And how much time you can dedicate to taking care of each one. 

They’re not a full-time job or anything, but some plants can be way harder to take care of than others, so it’s best to start with ones you know you can give a good home to. I’ve watched the slow death of too many plants—so don’t be like me! 

We should be one with nature, but in our modern-day world that can be tough. Houseplants are like little superheroes and have come to the rescue. Anyone with a plant obsession will tell you this; there is literally no downside to adding some greenery to your private oasis. So why not give your mental health, and the planet a boost, by going green?