Do Plants Improve Mental Health?

By: NIAH MADIGAN

During the pandemic, mental health has definitely taken a toll. Many people have been trying to find ways to take care of themselves, and a lot of people have turned to taking care of plants. However, a question has arisen: do plants really improve mental health?

Bobbie Mabe says yes. She is a horticultural therapist at HopeWay, which is a nonprofit behavioral and mental health treatment facility in Charlotte, North Carolina.“Our cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone, are lowered anytime we look at plants,” Mabe told Iisha Scott, WCNC Charlotte meteorologist. “So, just visualizing green plants or plants in our space, really lowers our stress levels.” A 2015 study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology also shows that plants can reduce psychological and physiological stress.

Struggling to focus on your schoolwork? Plants can help that too. A study from the University of Michigan showed that spending time with plants can increase memory retention by 20%, and results from a 2015 study found that biophilic design, or plants built into architecture, increases creativity up to fifteen percent.

Similarly, flowers can generate happiness. Having flowers around the home has greatly improved people’s moods, and increases levels of positive energy, according to a 2003 study conducted by researchers at Texas A and M University.

While plants are by no means the solution to every mental health problem, they can provide a quick, possible solution to a simple problem, as well as sprucing up your room.

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