How Plants Make Us Happy
We have all experienced the extreme sense of calm, happiness and appreciation when we interact with nature and the natural world. Be it a walk in the park, sitting around a burning fire staring at the flames, having a fresh bunch of flowers in a vase in our living room, floating blissfully in a pool below a cascading waterfall or misting our trailing hanging plant that brightens up the floating shelf in our bedroom.
These feelings are not unique, they are common amongst humans. This is because we have a genetic connection and innate attraction to nature - as hypothesised by the biologist E. O. Wilson.
Biophilia: Our Innate Connection to Nature and Plants
This innate connection and “love of nature” is called Biophilia. Philia refers to love and a strong sense of attraction. The opposite to a phobia.
Concrete walls, bricks and malls, really do make our life seem so small and life-less. The ever increasing uptake of urban development and the growing desire for more buildings and more infrastructure, as well as the longer working hours and increased time spent indoors; are reducing the space for living things, depleting our trees and diminishing our connection with nature.
We are literally designed with a genetic and innate desire to be connected to nature and to live in more than just buildings. Including plants in our living and working spaces is of ever increasing importance to our mental health and overall wellbeing as our natural surroundings become more concrete-jungle like.
Luckily the idea of Biophilia, Biophiliac Design – incorporating natural elements into the build environment - and the increasing desire to bring life into our indoor spaces is reconnecting us with nature!
The Benefits of Increasing Our Connection with Nature and Plants
Increasing our connection with nature has dramatic benefits on our physiological as well as psychological responses. Research has shown that simply spending time with nature benefits human health and well-being.
Spending time in natural environments and engaging with nature on a daily basis has been proven to boost our mood, improve concentration and productivity, enhance creativity, keep our senses in tune, refocus our attention and energy, help us to better manage stress, promote healing and ultimately make us feel good both physically and mentally.
In addition, plants add life, texture and colour to our indoor environments, they remove toxins, take in Carbon Dioxide and release Oxygen, ultimately purifying the air and making us feel happier. We definitely need more plants in our life!
Proven Benefits of Working Amongst Nature and Plants
The green vs lean office space study found that “workers in green workspaces had a more positive orientation to their work environment and to their work than those in lean workspaces”. Basically the study proved that enriching working space with natural elements - like indoor plants - improved productivity, concentration, creativity and positivity to work whilst also increasing engagement and in turn overall satisfaction.
Slow Living and Caring for Plants
In addition to the benefits of having plants in our spaces and the ability that they have to enhance our wellbeing, we also have to consider the beneficial impact of caring for plants and the benefits of the hobby of indoor gardening itself.
The recent global pandemic and shared change in our lives and disrupted routines, has made us starkly aware of our need for connection to nature, and our desire for nurture and nurturing opportunities, in a time of fear and stress. The amazing trend of slow living and the awareness of the need to do things intentionally and to be present in our lives has exploded!
Indoor gardening and caring for plants is the ultimate hobby to encourage slow living and intentional living. Taking the time to care for a life giving object and putting in the effort to nurture a plant, brings happiness and a sense of calm to people. Not to mention the sense of achievement and the joy that arises when a new leaf unfurls on your Delicious Monster or your friends remark on your gorgeous thriving Calathea!
How Plants Make us Happy
It is clear that plants really do make our lives so much better. And given all the health and wellness benefits as well as the overall aesthetic appeal and therapeutic feeling that simply having plants brings to our indoor spaces, there is no denying that indoor plants really do make us happier.