It’s no secret that plants are an essential component of our survival. They provide us with food, fiber, building materials, and medicine. Plants also have a direct influence on our well-being in their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and convert it to clean oxygen; which is a pretty handy trick in our heavily polluted, over populated world.
Interestingly, recent studies suggest that plants, particularly indoor plants, can also have a direct impact on our overall mood and emotional well-being. Humans have been bringing plants into their homes for thousands of years but with the evolution of modern creature comforts, our species is spending more time indoors now than we ever have before. When taking into consideration the growing percentage of our population that identify as couch potatoes, the initiative to introduce more plants to indoor spaces could prove to be one of the most important public health and happiness initiatives of the 21st century.
Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees, But Happiness Might
There are a number of reasons why plants may improve our mood – the most obvious being that they look quite a bit nicer than carpet and wallpaper. One study found an interesting correlation between the amount of care required to keep a plant healthy and the positive psychological effects it had on the caretaker. The research showed that those who spend extended periods of time in the presence of plants tend to have better relationships with other people and therefore experience increased levels of happiness. Individuals who spend more time around plants are much more likely to try and help others, and often have more sophisticated social relationships. People who care for the natural world are statistically more likely to care for others, reaching out to their fellow humans and forming stronger bonds.