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How Having Indoor Plants Can Help Improve Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

August 19, 2021

Did you know that plants can do more than just make interior spaces look good? While they’re great for decoration, research shows that indoor plants can be beneficial to our health too—especially mentally. If you’re feeling stressed out, or are looking for more ways to manage anxiety and depression, consider getting an indoor plant. Here are several reasons why. 


1. They don’t just reduce stress. 

A study involving 24 young men found that indoor plants “can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work.” In the study, the test subjects were divided into two equal groups: the first one was assigned a plant-related task, while the other was asked to complete a computer-task. After so, the subjects then switched tasks. According to the study findings, there was a big difference in feelings when it comes to doing each task: during transplanting, the participants were more soothed and comfortable. Surprisingly, this translated to lower diastolic blood pressure too! 

This just goes to show that the benefits of having an indoor plant is more than just mental, but also physical. 


2. Just potting soil can already help you manage your mental health. 

Not yet into gardening? Then you may want to consider getting started now. Just potting the soil can already bring about great benefits due to a bacteria that naturally lives in it. Called mycobacterium vaccae, it works as a natural antidepressant through a process that leads the brain to release more serotonin. Research also suggests that the same bacteria can help individuals become resilient to stress

If you don’t have a space for a garden, consider getting potted plants like cacti and succulents. You don’t necessarily have to start a greenhouse (unless you want to!)—just a few plants is a great start. 


3. Benefits? Just by looking? 

According to a Japanese study done in a real office setting, just gazing at an indoor plant can already reduce stress. The participants, who are real life workers of a company, were asked to choose and care for a plant. Conveniently placed on their desks, the workers were asked to stare at it whenever they “felt fatigue during office hours.” The results: their anxiety dropped significantly from pre- and post-intervention. 

For people who spend more time indoors, having a plant within reach and seeing distance can be an alternative to de-stressing, especially if you don’t have time or immediate access to nature. 


With research showing that indoor plants can do more than just make lifeless rooms pretty, it’s time to consider adding a small piece of nature to your home, school, or workspace!

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