Many of us are looking for the new trend or health fad to help us shave off the years and feel better. Yet, most of these trends are really just hype. We may spend countless hours sorting through conflicting information and feel overwhelmed with infinite promises of health and wellness – all for just $29.99! The health world is full of conflicting information and unrealistic expectations, so when it comes to feeling better and getting back into shape, what’s the easiest and most reliable step we can take?
Get Yourself Some Plants!
Getting healthy can be as easy as buying yourself a couple of ferns for your kitchen or an evergreen for your living room, and this isn’t just some hype. The simple act of having a houseplant can change the way your body interacts with the world. Plants are some of the best health supplements around; cleaning our air, making us happier, reducing depression, increasing productivity, and even boosting our immunity! When it comes to getting healthy, there is literally nothing more simple than buying yourself a few houseplants to increase your health and vitality.
1. Natural Air Filters
Even NASA understood the immense health benefits of houseplants¹
, studying them in the late 1980s for their air cleaning qualities. While researching methods to filter air for space stations, NASA found a variety of simple houseplants to be some of the best air filters around, cleansing the air from common carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde. And clean indoor air is incredibly important as we spend more than 90% of our time inside, where the air is often recycled and contaminated with countless chemicals and toxins.
2. Boost Your Immunity
Want to prepare for the flu season? Take a walk amongst the trees and plants in your favorite park or preserve. It’s been shown that spending more time in nature can boost your immunity²
. The stress reduction from walking in nature in addition to the plant’s phytoncides, a plant’s airborne chemicals, are beneficial to human health.
3. Increase Your Happiness
A major study in the UK followed 10,000 people for 18 years and found that people are happier living among green space (plants, trees, gardens, parks) than those who did not have access to any type of nature³
. And I’m sure you notice the difference of being surrounded by plants vs looking at a blank wall – our moods automatically expand. If you don’t have access to a park or forest nearby, why not create a little indoor oasis! Just adding one plant per 100 square feet can vastly change the drab space in your home into a living green garden
4. Enhance Healing Times
The presence of plants and flowers in hospital rooms have been shown to increase healing in patients recovering from surgery. Even being able to see trees and plants outside your window can help you recover from illness faster. Just three to five minutes spent looking at landscapes with trees, flowers or water can reduce anger, anxiety, and pain⁴
5. Gain Productivity
It’s been shown that offices lacking pictures, decoration, personal souvenirs or plants are the most “toxic” workspaces for a human. Now we all know why we hate cubicles so much! Additionally, researchers at the University of Exeter found that lean workspaces were 15% more productive when you added a few houseplants to the office. Plants may be simple, but they are incredibly effective. The act of seeing a plant from your desk has psychological and biological benefits that were previously unknown⁵
6. Improve Your Relationships
Those that spend a certain amount of time surrounded by nature and plants have better relationships with others due to an increased sense of compassion. Houseplants make you compassionate! How often do you talk to your plants, or care for them in a way that’s often better than your family or friends? Well, this innate sense to care for them seeps out into other relationships as well. Plants are true relationship counselors⁶
7. Increase Your Learning
Children who are surrounded by plants learn better, have increased focus and are able to engage better with their surroundings. Imagine if we infiltrated our schools with plants, taught our students to care for them, and created classrooms filled with nature and green surroundings. Our children would be more compassionate, better focused, healthier, happier people!⁷
Plants are more than just simple decorations, they are vital health supplements! It’s important to remember our relationship with nature and how we’ve evolved with plants; humans are supposed to live within nature and alongside our green friends. Your journey to feeling better doesn’t have to be a confusing and overwhelming romp on the internet. Instead, your journey can be a beautiful, colorful excursion full of life and nature. Even if you don’t feel confident caring for a plant, don’t stress. It’s important to get out there and start trying, because your health and wellbeing is worth it.
Michelle Polk is an acupuncturist and herbalist based out of Chicago, IL.
She’s passionate about preventative medicine, keeping people healthy with an assortment of herbal medicine, nutrition advice and of course, acupuncture.
She’s also passionate about plants and you can find her at House Plant Girl
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