Houseplants & Anxiety
By Rob Sproule
“Time spent in nature heals your mind, body, and spirit.”
– Katrina Mayer
As anyone nurturing their own indoor jungle will tell you, houseplants reduce anxiety. They’re easy to care for, look amazing, and have many other benefits, like:
• Lowering your blood pressure
• Improving your mental productivity
• Helping to fight mild depression
• Improving sleep quality
• Increasing your creativity
With amazing effects like these, houseplants are an obvious addition for any home. Here are a few favourites:
The first plant on the list is also the most effective. Lavender is the common essential oil found in sprays, lotions, and most any product promising to reduce anxiety. Lavender scent has been proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, bringing anxiety levels down with it. Put a potted lavender in a sunny spot, careful not to let it dry out, and enjoy its naturally relaxing effects throughout your home.
We know rosemary rocks with lamb, but this popular woody herb has more to offer than just taste. Rosemary also improves air quality and helps reduce anxiety. It’s best known for its ability to improve memory, and some even keep a pot of it near their bed for just that reason. That’s a great idea, so long as it gets the sun it needs to thrive.
Succulents are found in every magazine lately, and aloe vera is their wellness champion. They’re very hard to kill, thriving on neglect and needing only some sunlight to survive. It also purifies the air beautifully, and reduces stress by bringing a breath of fresh air indoors.
An old fashioned house plant that’s making a comeback, dracaena are a low-light favourite that remove toxins from the air. They pull formaldehyde and xylene out of the air, which reduces stress and improves concentration.
Besides air-cleaning, they are easy to care for, grow almost anywhere, and thrive on neglect. They come in a variety of colours of styles and are usually narrow, perfect for shadowy corners.
Also called sansevieria, snakeplants are so good at cleaning air, even NASA has taken note! Give them almost any light level, forget to water them, and watch them thrive. They bring a host of anti-anxiety benefits into the home, including improving concentration and promoting sleep. They’re also especially talented at reducing anxiety-induced headaches, making them one of the best plants to have for all-around stress relief.
One of the most colourful plants is also the best for your desk or office. The gerbera daisy is vibrant and emanates spring. They’re also one of the best air cleaners around, especially with toxins related to inks, so they’re ideal for your workspace, at home or in the office. They do like their soil evenly moist, however, so keep a spray bottle handy on your desk, as well.
Easy to grow and downright ubiquitous as a houseplant, english ivy (Hedera helix) reduces anxiety by attacking mold. Depending on how many spores are in the room, it can munch down on them by 94% in just 12 hours.
Give it almost any light level, water when it is dry, and make more by chucking a piece of it into a glass of water. Put some in your bedroom to pull mold spores and formaldehyde out of the air while you sleep, so you wake up more refreshed and with less anxiety.
As stressful and crazy as life can get, don’t let it get in the way of doing what you love. By bringing a little colour and life into your home with these luscious beauties, you’ll not only get a breath of fresh air, but a breath of relaxation, too!