House Plants and Your Emotional Wellbeing

April 21, 2021

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Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

How Caring for Your Plants Can Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing. 

There is just something so special about walking into a fresh and clean house, apartment, or dorm room and seeing a happy little houseplant perched on your window sill or desk. Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way. There’s just something special about it. The air smells just a little sweeter, and a calming wave of emotions seems to wash over you. Taking a small amount of time each day to care for your plants can also bring a sense of pride and accomplishment. Whether you just water your plants or go all out and tell them a story; caring for our plants can sometimes feel like caring for a pet or a family member.  

Whether you have only a small succulent, or a greenhouse in your window, houseplants can often reflect our emotional wellbeing too. When life gets busy, taking care of the plants every day slowly moves to the bottom of the list of priorities. As our plants start to wilt from the lack of water and care, we too start to wilt. Self-care no longer becomes a priority when life gets busy, and like our plants we wilt.  

But when we are able to slow life down, and find time to take care of our plants, we also seem to find the time to take care of ourselves. It is this ebb and flow that make the ordinary houseplant a symbol of our selfcare. A physical reminder that when life gets busy, we need to slow down to take care of ourselves and our plants. Because at the end of the day, if you aren’t finding the time to water and care for your plants, are you finding the time to take care of yourself?  

Houseplants not only freshen the air and serve as a great reminder to pause and remember your self care routine, they also provide a few other health benefits:  

  • Decreased levels of stress and anxiety: Being surrounded by even a few plants can help reduce levels of stress and anxiety. By keeping plants in the house, we are able to mimic being in nature which is the ultimate stress reducer.  

  • Increased attentiveness: When you add a few minutes of caring for a plant into your daily routine, your attentiveness to detail may increase over time. You may also find it easier to pause and be mindful during the everyday hustle and bustle of life.  

  • Sparks creativity: The color green and nature are both known to spark creativity. If you feel you may need new hobbies or are lacking some creativity in life, try caring for a plant to spark that creativity.  

There are other numerous health benefits to surrounding yourself with plants and caring for them. But these are the biggest benefits that you may start to feel right away. Now I’m not saying you need to have a green thumb by any means, or turn your living space into a full green house; but even having one succulent or spider plant can be enough to give yourself a feeling of purpose and remind you to slow down and take care of yourself.  

Let us know what your favorite houseplant is at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!  

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