Your Brain on Houseplants: The Link Between Plants and Your Mental Health

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Houseplants May Decrease Anxiety, Reduce Stress, and Improve Concentration

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Surrounding yourself with houseplants is a simple, relatively inexpensive way to do something remarkable. Find out some ways to improve your life with the power of houseplants!

Filling your space with greenery can have many beneficial effects on your brain: Houseplants can help reduce stress, increase happiness, improve concentration, and even make you feel less anxious. Think of them as your own personal (and natural!) wellness committee.

A lot (and we do mean a LOT) of research has been done on the link between plants and well-being. 

Remarkable Mental Health Benefits of Houseplants

Houseplants Can Help You Destress

In a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, researchers divided subjects into two groups who took turns transplanting indoor plants and doing computer work. They found that the subjects felt more comfortable and relaxed when working with the plants (wouldn’t you?). 

What’s more, many other studies have found that simply spending time in green spaces—indoors or out—can relieve stress as well. 

Check out our tips for incorporating plants into your living space.

Houseplants Can Make You Feel Happier

Researchers from the National Chin-Yi University of Technology in Taiwan reviewed 50 studies focused on the psychological benefits of indoor plants and found that the most significant effect they had on study participants was that they made them feel happier. 

Wondering which kind of plant to choose? One of the studies was specific, noting that small plants with green foliage and a light fragrance—think lavender—had the most noticeable effect. Learn more about the fantastic health benefits of lavender as well.

Houseplants Can Make it Easier to Concentrate

Another study, this time by Korean researchers, looked at the effects of live indoor plants on elementary students and discovered that looking at the plants actually altered their brain waves, helping the kids pay more attention and concentrate better. 

Here’s the thing to remember: The plants were in full view of the study subjects, so when you’re placing your own plants, location is key. Also, the plants were real—those dusty plastic vines from the craft store don’t count. We have some great ideas about low-light plants to grow at home or at the office.

Houseplants Can Help You Feel Less Anxious

A study published in the journal Environmental Research probed the effects of plants on folks stuck indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that being surrounded by houseplants helped reduce anxiety. Thankfully, we’ve (mostly) moved on from those difficult times, but tricky winter weather and even remote work can keep people housebound for long periods, so it’s not too far of a stretch to think the effects might still apply.

It all comes down to this: Houseplants are so much more than leafy decor. In many ways, they’re a gateway to a healthier, happier mind and a simple path to elevating your spirits and increasing your mental well-being. And if you ask us, that’s something worth cultivating.

Think of the person you know who always seems happy and upbeat, who stays cool in stressful situations, and has an enviable ability to tune out distractions and focus on what needs to be done. We’re going to go out on a limb and suggest there’s a pretty good chance they have more than a few houseplants in their life.

Do you feel calmer and less stressed when plants surround you? Which are your favorite? Tell us about them in the comments below!

About The Author

Su Reid-St. John

Su, a master gardener, spent many years editing and writing garden content for Bonnie Plants and Miracle-Gro. Read More from Su Reid-St. John

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