Improved well-being from the presence of plants
We need nature. Our health is strongly affected by the presence of nature, many researchers show. Fields making research about this subject include psychology, sociology and medicine. They research the effect of natural environments and indoor plants to for example stress levels, blood pressure and emotions.
It would be very good for our health to spend as much time as possible outdoors, in forests and parks, for example. But the fact is that city dwellers spend most of their time indoors. That’s why it’s important to bring the nature indoors, too!
Biophilia – the love for nature
The hypothesis that humans have an inborn tendency to prefer natural environments, is called biophilia. Cities and indoor environments consist mostly of man-made objects, so there is a lack of nature in the everyday life of many city dwellers. Therefore, we should actively add elements of nature: create parks, offer a view through windows, and use potted plants.
Recovery from stress is improved by looking at environments enriched by plants. You don’t need to think about that when you gaze outside the window or keep a houseplant on your desk. Just the presence of nature is enough to improve your mood. Try putting a plant related picture as a screensaver, or use a beautiful forest poster on your office wall! Looking at plants reduce blood pressure and muscle tension, improve mood and enhance vigilance and performance.
Working environment that has natural elements, is considered pleasant and harmonic. Green environment is beneficial for a company in many ways: it improves the mood of the employees, gives a positive image for both employees and clients, and increases productivity.
In addition to improve mood, plants can reduce our physiological symptoms, too. Keeping plants in the office can significantly reduce neuropsychological symptoms, like headache, concentration problems and fatigue. Also cough and blocked nose may be relieved by adding plants to the office. These results are caused probably by both biophilia and the improvement of indoor air quality.
Cleaner indoor air by the presence of plants
City dwellers often spend over 80 % of their time indoors. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the quality of indoor air. Plants improve the quality of indoor air by moisturizing and cooling it, and by binding dust and harmful substances, for example benzene.
In addition to homes and offices, also public spaces, like libraries, waiting rooms, hospitals, retirement homes, schools and kindergartens would benefit from these attributes.
Sources & further reading:
Biophilia: Does Visual Contact with Nature Impact on Health and Well-Being?
Bjørn Grinde and Grete Grindal Patil http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/6/9/2332/htm
Influence of Limitedly Visible Leafy Indoor Plants on the Psychology, Behavior, and Health of Students at a Junior High School in Taiwan. Ke-Tsung Han. http://eab.sagepub.com/content/41/5/658.short
Puisto, puutarha ja hyvinvointi. Rappe, E. & Lindén, L. & Koivunen, T.
Relf, D. The Role of Horticulture in Human Wellbeing and Social Development. Portland: Timber Press, 93–105.
Lohr, V. & Pearson-Mims, C. 2000. Physical Discomfort May Be Reduced in the Presence of Interior Plants. HortTechnology 10, 53–58.
Fjeld, T. 2000. The effect of interior planting on health and discomfort among workers and school children. HortTechnology 10, 46–52.