The Power of Plants: The Key to Well-Being

Wellbeing seems to be the big trend in 2019, with quite a few articles, podcasts and books mentioning ways to increase it. But what exactly is wellbeing? And why is it important?

The Mental Health Foundation defines it as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.’ It affects each and every one of us, on a daily basis and has strong links to our happiness and life satisfaction. So it’s no wonder that as a society we are now looking for ways to improve our mental and physical wellbeing.

Here are three of the most significant factors, among others, that have been found to contribute to a person’s wellbeing:

  • Having a sense of purpose and meaning

  • Having a close network of friends

  • Having a happy and intimate relationship with a partner

A factor that might be overlooked when considering ways to increase your wellbeing is the impact of plants. Houseplants, gardening and exploring the outdoors have all shown to contribute to reducing stress levels, blood pressure and headaches. This makes sense, since we tend to surround ourselves with plants and gift them during significant life occasions such as weddings and funerals.

Here are some of the benefits plants have on your well-being:

1. They Lower your Stress Levels and Increase Happiness

Hospital studies have discovered that the very presence of plants can contribute to lowering stress, blood pressure and pain. Additionally, when patients tended to plants it increased their recovery time. With plants being shown to improve patients environments within hospitals, the simple action of creating a green space or keeping plants can also improve the quality of life at home or work.

2. They Improve your Memory and Productivity

Memory retention increases by 20% when individuals come into regular contact with plants. Strengthened memory retention has contributed to enhanced productivity and creativity by 40% whether that be in the workplace, classroom or at home. Therefore, plants are a worthy long term investment into your overall performance at work as well as your mental well-being.

3. Gardening Keeps your Body Fit

Staying active in the garden has the same benefits as jogging or swimming. Gardening utilises a lot of the muscle groups within the body through activities such as pushing a lawn mower, raking leaves, digging holes and weeding. With the changing of seasons, the activity of gardening can remain interesting year around not to mention the sense of pride and joy attained when admiring the fruits of your labour.

The power of plants should not be underestimated. It’s versatile nature can drastically enhance your quality of life as well as your sense of well-being. Growing a green thumb through plants and gardening (even indoor gardening!) might just be one of the best things you could do, with your body and mind thanking you in the long run.

Images by Arthur Millier Radnall and Courtney Gordon. Written by Vanessa Stidever.

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