5 Ways Plants Can Help You Manage Your Stress
Can bringing nature inside from the outside help with your stress?
Why yes it can!
That is the power of plants.
It turns out that plants aren’t just pretty to look at, they actively provide benefits to you as well. And the best thing is that plants help you manage your stress before your stress manages you. First, I’ll talk about 5 ways that plants help with stress, then I’ll tackle 4 of the easiest plants for beginners (like me).
But before we start, I have to say that when bringing plants into your home, it’s important to research and make sure that the plant is the right one for you as far as the level of care it needs vs. what you can provide and that it is not one that potentially can be harmful to your pets.
How Do Plants Help You Manage Stress?
Improved Air Quality
Plants are living creatures and use the process of photosynthesis to convert the carbon dioxide that we breathe out into food so that they can grow and live their best life. This process cleans the air and makes it easier for us to breathe. Plants and people are a win – win combination! 🎍 + 😊 = Win!
Lower Stress & Anxiety
A study by Min-sun Lee, et. Al published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology looked at the effects that plants had on the nervous systems of young adults. They concluded that plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress by lowering blood pressure and promoting feelings of soothed comfort. Just gazing at a plant has the ability to put a smile on one’s face.
Add Humidity To Dry Air
In the winter, many of us have the heat going, which can lead to dried out stuffy indoor spaces. Plants go through a process called transpiration by which they lose water which is released into the environment as vapor. So having several plants such as Boston Ferns can lead to less stuffy noses and sore throats during the winter. Particularly in cold environments like New York.
Providing Mindful Moments
The plants that we invite into our homes, improve our quality of life in a myriad of ways. But they need a little bit of help from us in order to do so. If you are looking for new ways to add stress management into your daily life, consider mindfulness.
Mindfulness is just about focusing on the present moment you’re in. It’s about the here and now. You take out the judgment, regret, guilt or whatever other negative things you’re feeling and simply accept what is.
You can turn the time that you spend taking care of your plants into mindfulness moments. Place all your attention on your plant friend. What does it look like before, during and after watering? What does its soil feel like between your fingers? How many shade of green (or other colors) do you see? What initially attracted you to this specific plant? These are all questions you can think about as you slowly water, prune and feed your plant. Appreciating each moment.
Help Increase Creativity
If you have a garden – whether big or a container garden, your plants can get your creative juices flowing. Thinking about color coordinating, layouts, plant groupings or even what plants you should have are all ways to stretch your creative muscles and provide a relief to your stress. Because as I’ve often said here at the Making Time Blog, creativity is a form of self-care.
Okay, now that we’ve covered the reasons why plants are the best, let’s look at 4 super easy to care for plants that many beginners (including myself) have had success with.
Snake plants are the ‘holy grail’ of easy to care for plants for beginners. They are native to Africa and although they prefer lots of sunlight, they can still live in low light conditions. The New York Botanical Garden has a great guide on caring for snake plants.
Did You Know that Snake Plants are considered a type of succulent?
Lucky bamboo is everywhere. You can find it in home improvement stores, plant nurseries and even pet stores. Although it closely resembles bamboo found in the wild, it is actually a plant called dracaena. Lucky bamboo is another plant that prefers lots of light but will still grow in low light conditions. Proflowers has a easy to read guide on what it takes to care for these plants.
Succulents are closely related to cactus. They are great for 1st timers because they don’t require a ton of water, so if you forget a time or two, 😊 your succulent should still be alright. They are amazing – coming in a variety of colors and shapes that can reflect your own personal style. There is a great article on caring for succulents on hgtv.
These alien like plants don’t need to be placed in soil, instead they grow through a combination of air and water! They thrive when out of direct sunlight as in nature they’re usually found on tree branches under the shady canopy provided by their leaves. Better Homes and Gardens has an article that discusses everything you need to know about caring for an air plant.
So there you have it! Plants can be a great source of stress relief and absolutely will help you increase your self-care by caring for something else. And have no fear, you can do it because it's all about Making Time.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a facilitator, stress management coach and author of “Yes I’m Grateful,” a gratitude journal. She believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn