Feeling stressed or anxious? Try taking care of a plant.
Scientific evidence suggests surrounding yourself with plants, perennials and other foliage can improve your mood and cognitive skills.
According to a Forbesarticle from last year, owning plants reduces stress and anxiety, spruces up the air quality, acts as natural humidifiers and facilitates one’s healing. The article continues by saying, “active interaction with indoor plants (like touching and smelling) can reduce physiological and psychological stress.”
In a 2018 Time article, plants are described as “indispensable to human life. Through photosynthesis, they convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen, and they can also remove toxins from the air we breathe.”
Lori Brandt had a similar take on the benefits of owning plants. As greenhouse manager at Bostdorff’s Greenhouse in Bowling Green, she not only sells flowers, veggie plants, trees and perennials but also provides landscaping services.
“With the oxygen and carbon dioxide change, it purifies the air. It smells like dirt, but it’s purified air flow. It gives the greenhouse freshness of new life and all the colors raise spirits. I’m a Christian, and I believe we all started in the garden, so it’s nice to give back by working in the same garden,” she said.
Taking care of plants has a similar health implication to earthing, sometimes called “grounding.” As stated by the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, “Earthing (or grounding) refers to the discovery of benefits – including better sleep and reduced pain – from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to a transfer of Earth’s electrons into the body.”
Brandt mentioned grounding was something she believes in and a technique that is medically backed up.
“Hands playing in dirt is similar. It produces a feel-good environment for you. When you’re working with something living it’s a quiet environment. When you’re planting and seeing this connection with the earth, you’ll have time to think about problems. You get a break from electronics and sounds. It is beautiful knowing you have a part in growing that. Connection with nature and what nature does,” Brandt said.
The Journal of Environmental and Public Healthproduced several studies related to stimulating being barefoot outdoors in a controlled indoor environment. One of these studies evaluated diurnal rhythms, or when the rhythms are synchronized with the day/night cycle, in correlation with changes in sleep, pain and stress (anxiety, depression and irritability). This was tested on 12 subjects who were grounded to Earth in their own beds while they slept using a conductive mattress pad for eight weeks.
Carolyn Husk, ex-florist and current plant owner, has been caring for plants for over 44 years. Her first plant was an African violet from her grandmother, and it’s been a hobby of hers ever since. Her favorite part of working in a florist shop was making bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres for weddings and dances. However, she hated removing thorns from long-stemmed roses, as she was always bleeding and pricking herself.
“Taking care of flowers, plants is a huge stress reliever for me. Learning about plants, flowers, looking through gardening magazines and walking through greenhouses makes me forget all my problems for a little while. Even though I basically hate dirt, bugs and the sun, I will endure it all for the reward of enjoying the beauty of all my hard work,” she said.
BGSU student, Makayla LoChiatto has a different thought. The senior chemistry major thought about having plants at a young age, and while she hasn’t thought about owning them now that she’s older, her thoughts have changed a little over the years.
“While I do not own any plants, I do not think owning plants would help my mental health and stress levels. This is because I do not know how to care for plants, and it would cause me increased stress to learn how to care for them and keep them alive. I do, however, see the benefits of having plants due to their oxygen release that would purify the air to live a happy and healthy life,” LoChiatto said.