a green houseplant on a windowsill

If you are like me, you love houseplants. Big leaves and cascading foliage; vibrant pops of color and unique variegated patterns; we just love ‘em all. Houseplants just seem to put me in a peaceful mood. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but when I’m surrounded by greenery indoors I just feel more…focused. Creative. Relaxed. Happy. Does anybody else get that feeling around houseplants?

I would bet you know the feeling.

Over the last decade, scientific study after study has supported the amazing emotional and mental benefits of being in natural spaces, even when you bring those natural elements inside a more urban environment. We’re talking measurable decreases in anxiety levels, lower heart rates, and even faster mental recovery from the negative effects of stress. The amount of greenery in a residential area has been shown to have a positive relation to the residents’ overall health, and hospital patients who have plants in their rooms benefit from stress reduction as well. Even the office can benefit from indoor plants – leading to attentive and productive workers, lower stress, and higher job satisfaction.

Houseplants can improve productivity!

Nature is therapeutic. A 2014 Korean study showed that symptoms of depression were most reduced in therapy done in a forest setting as opposed to a more clinical one, and the odds of complete remission were almost 30% higher! Conversely, people and communities with less available green space showed an increased risk of depression.

Oh, and I almost forgot – greenery is great for enhanced memory retention! Participants in a 2012 experiment did much better on working memory tests after a stroll through an arboretum, as compared to people who walked through a traffic-heavy urban environment. Children with more exposure to nature have been shown to benefit from an improved working memory and attentiveness.

More and more, architects are finding ways to bring the outdoors in.

The list of benefits goes on and on. From enhanced creativity and self-esteem, to the reduction of the effects of dementia and PTSD. You can dig into Charles R Hall’s review and summary of the scientific studies over the last decade HERE, or trust what you have felt all along: being well surrounded by plants is great for your well-being.