Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about plants and mental health. Does having plants make you happier? They’ve made me happy for over two decades now and in turn, as a professional gardener I made many people happy by helping them with their gardens. Over the years, my clients have told me how, almost like magic, whenever they spend time in their gardens, their stress disappears. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing either. They can be weeding or sitting with a drink or even taking a phone call. Regardless of what they do, life is simply better when they’re in that green space.
Do You Need an Outdoor Space?
So I started thinking about whether folks who didn’t have a garden or outdoor space could be happy through plants too. How would that work? What could they do? Flowers in a window box? Tomatoes in a container? A fragrant patio border? Did they even need a growing space? Could they do it just with photos? Or by enjoying a park? As I pondered these questions, I started reading more and more books about plants and mental health, until 2020, when the pandemic hit, I decided to dive into some serious research. I wanted to know what exactly were the healing effects plants had on people.
The Research Is Convincing
What I found astounded me. In the last ten years, there’s been a ton of research, all pointing to how directly and easily plants improve our moods. They lower blood pressure and make us more productive. They even boost our cancer-fighting T cells. And so, as I’ve been exploring this wonderful new field, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned. I also thought I’d share some of the nifty things I see and read in my plant community of how people have coped with stress or are just plain happier due to plants. It reflects the love I’ve always had for plants and I thought a good way of brightening your day as well.
So starting today on Valentine’s Day, I’ll start sharing snippets of how plants make us all happier every day in a blog called Daily Stress ReLeaf. I hope you’ll join me.