Now that the fun and lights of the holidays are over, it feels like a long, gloomy road to spring. I’ve been guilty of wishing I was a bear, hibernating until the thaw. But I’m going to try and convince you that houseplants defeat depression. Houseplants make me feel good in the winter, but maybe it’s just because I like them. Not so! It’s been proven with official, scientific studies. Let me tell you about these studies, and let’s see if you become convinced that houseplants defeat depression.
But before I tell you about the studies, I want to make a couple of points.
- First, there are a lot of internet sources claiming that houseplants increase the oxygen in your home. After some serious digging on that subject, sadly it doesn’t increase it enough to have an effect on us. Opening doors and windows is the best option for more oxygen.
- Second, this only applies to typical, run of the mill winter-blues. Not the serious, debilitating stuff. A doctor is required for clinical depression.
Now let’s move onto the research. I want to make sure you have time to go shopping for some plants.
According to this report by the US National Library of Medicine, a study has shown that while exercising in an environment with the color green, a person’s mood disturbance is lowered.
Mood disturbance is anger or depression. Most houseplants are green, so I’m on the road to convincing you, right? Okay, you can go paint everything green and hang landscape pictures on your walls. It might improve your mood. But keep reading. There are more benefits to houseplants than just the color green.
Toxins in the air, such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene get absorbed by several available house plants, according to a NASA research. Here are some of the health problems these toxins can cause:
- Benzene – dizziness, headaches, confusion, and worst of all, cancer.
- Formaldehyde – coughing, wheezing, sore throat, itchy eyes.
- Trichloroethylene – problems with the nervous system, kidneys, liver.
- Xylene – irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat; difficulty in breathing; impairs function of the lungs; delays response to a visual stimulus; impairs memory; stomach discomfort; and possible changes in the liver and kidneys.
- Toluene – problems with your speech, vision, or hearing, loss of muscle control, loss of memory, poor balance, and decreases mental ability.
I think it’s safe to say that when most people don’t feel well, they won’t be in a good mood. Now NASA’s study only shows 29 plants, but I’ll bet most plants have some characteristics to improve the air quality in your home. Breathe cleaner air, and I’m sure you’ll feel more upbeat.
This study shows that blood pressure and hypertension lower when one is exposed to, or is involved in a task with plants.
Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, and I’m all for reducing my anxiety without having to keep hitting the wine bottle. Are you starting to believe that houseplants reduce depression? If not, you’re a tough nut to crack. But it gets better. Keep reading.
Another study and this one on page 29, show that surgery patients with plants and flowers in their rooms have significantly lower levels of anxiety and pain, with faster recovery than patients without any plants.
Now that’s convincing. You just can’t argue with that one. Houseplants defeat depression by making people feel good, both physically and emotionally.
Purchase a houseplant for your home and don’t consider it a frivolous expense. Think of it as part of your health budget. You don’t stop buying toothpaste because it costs too much. Anyway, most people are willing to give away a cutting off their plant. Now go cover that dreary winter window with lush plants and start feeling better.