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Six Good Reasons to Surround Yourself with Plants

indoor plant Image courtesy of Lauren Mancke

We’ve been talking a lot about plants recently, and for good reason! While they’re certainly a pretty addition to a windowsill or the corner of your living room, there’s more to plants than just meets the eye. Lush, juicy greenery actually yields a jaw-dropping amount of wellness benefits for humans, whether indoors or outdoors. From freshening the air to actually increasing your serotonin levels, here are six perks of keeping plants in close quarters:

They detoxify the air.

Plants are nature’s air-purifying powerhouses. Along with absorbing CO2 from the air, they also filter out harmful toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the atmosphere, according to a 1989 NASA study. This comes especially in handy in energy-efficient commercial buildings, where the reduced airflow traps toxic emissions from synthetic building materials inside. So heads up — if you work in one such building and ever experience sudden allergy-like symptoms, indoor pollution could be the reason. Try sprucing up your office space with a big, leafy plant, like a bird of paradise or a snake plant, to snatch those nasty pollutants from your workspace.

Image courtesy of Brina Blum

They act as a natural noise barrier.

Plant parts like stems, bark, and leaves actually absorb noise from the environment, thanks to their dynamic surface area. This is great news for those who live in noisy cities, near freeways...or maybe with a roommate who refuses to part with their shiny ten-piece drum set. Plants can also deflect noise and refract it, reducing echoes by preventing sound waves from bouncing all over the place.

Plants can enhance your focus and productivity.

When researchers conducted a 2014 study to measure the effects of plants on office employees, they discovered that greener office spaces resulted in a 15% uptick in productivity. What's more, employees reported improved concentration and a general increase in workplace satisfaction when they were surrounded by lush, leafy greenery!

Image courtesy of Jade Stephens

They are a serious mood booster.

Ever noticed that after a walk through the woods or the park, you feel less stressed and generally happier? That’s no coincidence. Plants and soil actually contain microbes that release cytokines, which signal your brain to pump out serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness and pleasure). Some studies have even shown that people who spend more time around greenery are actually nicer than those who aren’t — so go ahead, splurge on that pretty philodendron you’ve been eyeing lately. Your mood, along with your friends and family, will thank you!

They’re natural air humidifiers.

Plants release moisture into the air through the process of transpiration. Try investing in an Areca palm or a Boston fern to keep dry winter skin at bay.

They help you recover from injuries.

According to a 2009 Kansas State University study, surgery patients with plants in their rooms had significantly greater positive responses during recovery versus patients without them. Lower systolic blood pressure, along with lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, were some of the notable observations that came from the patients whose rooms had plants. Similarly, a study conducted by Texas A&M University noted that horticultural therapy, in which patients nurture and care for plants themselves, can also reduce recovery time after medical procedures.

What are some of the reasons you like to keep plants in your space? Let us know in the comments!

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