Most of you know I have a slight plant obsession. This started when I took a summer job at the local greenhouse in my hometown a few summers ago. Now, wherever I live, my plants live with me. I have found out this is called "Indoor Nature Exposure" (INE) and is being used as a way of HEALTH PROMOTION. And since health promotion is one of my career goals, I thought I should do some research for you all to encourage you to fill your home with houseplants.
When I first got into collecting greenery, I did not now of the effects plants have on your wellbeing. I have been a plant mama for over 3 years now and the benefits are endless. My partner recently wrote a research paper on the plants in our home and the mutually beneficial relationship with have with them. It was inspiring and influential in me writing this post. He read a book together called Plants as Persons by Matthew Hall. If you end up reading it, let me know.
I have put time into finding quality research about plants to show you all why I am obsessed with them.
Here are the 5 benefits to filling your home with houseplants.
1. Plants can purify the air around you.
This makes sense since plants use C02 and produce 02. One research study in Korea determined the air surrounded by indoor plants "had showed a continual decrease in the indoor concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the entire observation period". Volatile organic compounds are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids that are common air pollutants with possible adverse health outcomes. Get that healthy air flow! (House-plant placement for indoor air purification and health benefits on asthmatics, Korean Society for Environmental Health and Toxicology, 2014).
2. Plants have the ability to increase your attention capacity.
One study in Norway set out to discover how green foliage and flowers can positively influence your attention capacity in an office setting. One group of participants were placed in a room with 4 blooming plants while a control group was placed in a non-plant room. Attentional capacity was tested 3 separate times. The blooming plant group improved their performance 2 out 3 times. (Benefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in an office setting, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2011).
3. Plants can improve many aspects of your mental health.
This is a common topic of interest within science today. Some psychological benefits presented by plants include decreased stress and associations with ill health. Another Norwegian study looked at employees skills related to the amount of plants surrounding them at work. They found "the number of indoor plants proximal to a worker's desk had small but statistically reliable associations with sick leave and productivity"! (Psychological Benefits of Indoor Plants in Workplaces: Putting Experimental Results into Context, Floriculture Production, 2007)
4. You get to experience a person-plant relationship.
This may not be an experience everyone can attain. I do believe it takes practice and respect towards plants to earn their trust. One study in Denmark explored the person-plant relationships in an office space, concluding that indoor nature had a positive influence on individuals wellbeing. This included self esteem, mood, emotions and confidence. Why wouldn't you want to be friends with then? The office space in this study improved competitiveness and the social climate. (People-plant Relationships in an Office Workplace: Perceived Benefits for the Workplace and Employees, Floriculture, 2011).
6. Plants improve your overall well-being.
The information above proves my point. A meta-analysis reviewed over 50 significant plant studies to conclude the main benefit of indoor nature exposure is increased positive feelings and decreased negative feelings within one's home. The authors extend into the body-mind connection of how plants can benefit us both physically and mentally. Having plants in your home is an effective way of improving your mental and physical health! (Effects of Indoor Plants on Self-Reported Perceptions: A Systemic Review. Sustainability, 2019).
If that information doesn't convince you to go buy a new houseplant, I'm not sure what else will. I hope you soon treat yourself to a new plant that can brighten up your home space. It is never a bad idea to come home with something green to grow.
Thank you for reading everyone. Soon I will write another post on specific plants that are easy to keep alive in your house. See you next Monday. Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter!
This is how we flourish
Below are a few of our babies I had a photoshoot with the other day!
*I'm using this piece of writing as a personal reflection on my current experiences. *
Today I want to talk about grief. To begin, let's start out with some definitions.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines grief as:
deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement; a cause of such suffering; trouble or annoyance
Dictionary.com defines grief as:
keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret
Finally, let's look at the definition from MedicineNet.com:
The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical (such as a death), social (such as divorce), or occupational (such as a job). Emotional reactions of grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Physical reactions of grief can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness.
Now, let's analyze these conversations. Grief can be experienced in various ways by each individual. You may be more comfortable with one of those definitions than the other. That's okay. That is what I would like to bring up today, that grief is different for everybody and can come from a variety of causes. No matter what the situation was to cause the grief, each human reacts in their own unique way to handle this.
And that is okay.
After a very hard beginning to our year of 2020, my boyfriend and I lost his father to lung cancer. This was devastating. My heart broke into a million pieces. To see the person I love in so much pain did not make sense to me. It was not fair. I did not understand. I still don't. Why do we have to lose the people we love?
As we tried to go on with our normal lives after missing weeks of school, this pandemic began to take its toll. Another reason to grieve. Our first 4 year Bachelor programs have come to a sudden halt. No more seeing friends everyday. No more work. No more social interaction.
We are currently finishing our 4th week of isolation here in Burnaby and all I can say is that I feel okay. I feel very happy some days while others are tough. I know I am grieving. I see is through my sleeping patterns, energy levels and mood swings.
I think people assume you can only grieve after a death but that is not the case. We can all grieve ANY distress or loss. You can't figure out why you are feeling so odd lately? Maybe you are grieving what you have loss.
It's okay to be sad. It's okay to feel loss. It's okay to be confused.
What we can't do now is ignore these feelings.
We must acknowledge them.
We as a society must understand that hiding our emotions only causes more emotional distress in the future.
Many psychologists and scholars place grief into 5 or 6 stages. This is a normal, scientific way of categorizing our feelings. They are:
The point I am trying to get at is...
GRIEVING IS NORMAL AND WE NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE WHEN IT IS HAPPENING.
Continually throughout my life, I have seen family and friends pushing their emotions away, putting them to the back of their mind. Unfortunately, this only causes more issues in the future because of so many built up feelings.
If you are feeling anything similar to how I am lately, I wanted to create an exercise for us to help heal ourselves. Here we go.
SELF-HELP/GRIEF MEDITATION EXERCISE:
The more I see society pushing their feelings away, the more I realize we need to self medicate with meditation. A simple process we can start including into our daily routines. Research shows as little as 2-3 minutes of daily meditation can have a benefit to our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. I encourage you to try it!
If meditation is not for you, that is okay. I ask you to practice deep breathing still. This respiratory practice has the ability to slow down our thoughts and lower stress levels. You could try the 5-6-8 breath. Inhale for a count of 5, pause for a count of 6 and exhale to a count of 8.
Thank you for tuning in everyone. I hope you enjoy your Easter weekend.
This is how we flourish.