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8 Wellness Benefits of Plants: How Gardening and Plants Can Improve Your Mental Health

Updated: May 12, 2023

Could plants and gardening be the answer to your stress and anxiety? Read the article to find out all their scientifically-backed benefits!

Woman working in garden and experiencing improved air quality from plants as she releases carbon dioxide.

8 Wellness & Health Benefits of Plants: How Gardening and Indoor Plants Improve Your Mental Health

You might wonder how gardening and interaction with indoor plants can be linked to your brain at all - the two topics seem completely separate. However, extensive research and reviews of data show that there is a distinct correlation between plants and your mood, stress level, cognition, and more. [*] Here’s how it works and how you can use that connection to support your well-being and self-care routine. Let's explore the psychological and physiological benefits of plants!

Health Benefits of Plants and Gardening on Your Mental Health and Wellness

1. Gardening and Indoor Plants Can Lower Anxiety Symptoms and Stress Levels

Research shows that spending time around indoor plants, in the garden, or in other natural settings can reduce psychological and physiological stress. Plus, it can help improve your recovery from mental fatigue while slowing your heart rate and lowering blood pressure. [*] Although it's not completely known why, experts theorize that caring for plants could affect your autonomic nervous system activity by suppressing your sympathetic nervous system activity, therefore, promoting feelings of relaxation and comfort. [*]

Self care printable planner page

2. Plants Can Improve Memory and Focus

Being around any kind of plant - at home, in nature, or in your garden - has been shown to boost attention and memory by 20%. The presence of nature and green spaces has also proven to increase concentration and mental work performance. [*]

3. Houseplants or Potted Plants Can Boost Productivity

Other research shows that employees were able to be more productive when indoor plants were included in their work area. This is likely linked to the plants' effects on attention and focus. [*] While productivity is helpful on its own, this ability to focus can also lend itself to greater mental health. By allowing you to accomplish tasks, the presence of plants also clears up additional mental space to deal with all areas of life.

Rocky Mountain Oils to diffuse to enhance your indoor air smell.

*If you love diffusing oils, then you'll love the chance to diffuse them anywhere, any time with this set from Rocky Mountain Oils!

4. Indoor Plants and Nature Can Ease Symptoms of Depression

In multiple studies, researchers found that participants experienced fewer incidences of symptoms of anxiety as well as decreased depressive symptoms. Additionally, participants reported increases in their mood and improved memory span. There’s also evidence that depression treatment, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in combination with exposure to indoor plants and nature can significantly aid in reducing symptoms of depression. [*]

5. Gardening or Plants Can Increase Creativity

Studies suggest that surrounding yourself with greenery, such as a garden or indoor plants, can spark creativity. In fact, one study reported that employees with natural elements in their offices were 15% more creative than employees who didn’t have plants. [*]

Smart Tools that Make Gardening and Horticulture Therapy Easier [*]:

6. Plants Promote a Good Mood Due to Their Stress-Reducing Effects

There are so many ways how gardening and indoor plants boost your mental well-being. They can reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. They also boost creativity and productivity while putting you into a calmer mood. Ultimately these factors lead to a better overall mood. [*][*]

7. Gardening Provides Grounding Effects & Natural Feelings of Connection

Gardening in particular may help you feel grounded. Grounding is the practice of walking barefoot outside or reconnecting directly with the Earth via touching the soil, grass, or ground. Grounding has been shown to stabilize physiology, reducing stress and inflammation. There’s also evidence that it can improve your energy and help you sleep. [*]

Gardening can be a form of grounding - it offers you quiet time devoted specifically to get in touch with the earth, which can help you feel centered and lower your physiological and psychological stress.

8. Plants and Nature Can Increase Self-Esteem & Well-Being

In one study of 84 different gardeners in London, gardening was found to actually help boost self-esteem and confidence. Participants were asked to reflect on their body image, including things like how much they appreciated their body and its functionality.

By the end of the study, the gardeners reported a boost in their confidence, likely thanks to an increased appreciation for what their body allows them to do in the garden. [*]

Gardening helps with mental well-being, concentration, and attention and can improve your mood. Nature and gardening can really help relax your soul. So feel free to absorb all the psychological benefits as you create a beautiful herb garden or grow the perfect tomato!

Printable gratitude bullet journal idea with similar benefits to the environmental wellness of plants.

Can Plants Help With Blood Pressure & Mental Health?

Studies have shown that having indoor plants can help to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The act of caring for plants has also been shown to be therapeutic, which can further help to lower stress levels and blood pressure.

If you’re looking to add some plants to your home in order to help lower your blood pressure, there are a few varieties that are known to be particularly effective. Some good options include aloe vera, spider plants, and bamboo palm.

6 of the Easiest Indoor Plants To Keep Alive [*]:

  • Pothos Ivy

  • Peace Lilies

  • Snake Plants

  • Aloe Vera Plant

  • Spider Plants

  • Jade Plant

5 Best Plants that Clean Indoor Air & Improve Air Quality

Looking for the best plants to improve air quality? Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release and serve as an indoor air pollution abatement system. Here are some of the best options that will help you breathe easier and feel better:

1. Aloe vera - This succulent is not only easy to care for, but it also emits oxygen at night, helping to purify the air in your bedroom.

2. Boston fern - This lush, green plant is great at filtering out formaldehyde and other toxins from the air.

3. Snake plant - Also known as mother-in-law's tongue, this tough plant is practically indestructible and helps to remove carbon dioxide from the indoor air.

4. Chrysanthemum - This beautiful flower not only looks great but also helps to remove ammonia and other pollutants from the air.

5. Peace lily - Another beautiful plant that does double duty by filtering out mold spores and other airborne toxins to boost the indoor air quality.

So, if you're looking for the best plants to improve air quality, these are some great options to consider while you boost your mental health!

Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Plants and Gardening on Your Mental State

So, how gardening and plants improve your mental wellness and health can be seen in various areas! From a creativity boost to more serious benefits, like stress and anxiety reduction, plants can make all the difference in your healthy lifestyle. As an avid plant lover, there is nothing like lowering your psychological and physiological stress with gorgeous greenery.

Still, plants do require upkeep, so be sure to schedule some time to care for them in your habit tracker and self-care planner! You can also follow their impact on your mental well-being by utilizing a mood tracker and physical well-being by using a fitness tracker to make sure you’re getting the best results.

Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site, including text, graphics, images, and other material, is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your specific condition.

Dr. Dawn's Wellness Tools social media handle @drdawnswellnesstools

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