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How Nature Can Improve Your Mental Health

May 14, 2021 Tom Luck

“You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re busy—then you should sit for an hour.”—old zen saying

It’s no surprise millions of us turned to nature during the pandemic, whether it was taking daily walks or flexing those green-fingers for the very first time—and unearthing a new passion in the process!

For centuries nature has been seen as a source of peace and energy. Over the past 30 years international research has consistently proven the restorative effects of nature on our mental health. But how exactly does nature, in particular plants, improve our mental health?

Ease stress and anxiety 

Simply spending time around plants calms, uplifts and restores us. Plants raise wellbeing while at the same time lowering stress and anxiety. Studies have even shown plants speed up recovery from mental fatigue and reduce high blood pressure.  

Reduce Symptoms of Depression

Caring for plants does wonders for our wellbeing. As well as giving our minds a much-needed break, the responsibility of caring for plants can give a real sense of purpose, pride and achievement. It’s highly satisfying to successfully nurture a plant from seed to flower or, when growing your own food, from plant to plate!

Improve Concentration & Productivity

We all know plants produce fresh oxygen by absorbing carbon dioxide via photosynthesis. But did you know carbon dioxide, which is produced from our breathing, is a well known cause of drowsiness and concentration loss? Plants encourage more effortless brain activity, allowing for a greater capacity to maintain directed attention and to better perform tasks. The fresh air plants produce can improve our health and increase our productivity.

Why Nature is More Important than Ever

13% of UK households have no access to a garden.

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: we spend only 10% of our time outdoors.

Humans have an instinctive bond with nature (it’s called Biophilia). Urban life, however, starves this bond. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) claims urban life is draining on us because it demands our attention in specific ways—the ping of a phone, navigating the continuous flow of traffic. 

Nature, on the other hand, grabs our attention without commanding it, allowing us to think as much—or as little—as we would like, while providing the opportunity to refuel our exhausted minds. Spending time around plants improves our health, well-being and productivity. But, as research proves, this time is rarely available.

Plants are becoming increasingly more popular in places like shopping centres, offices and, more recently, at home. Research shows that indoor green spaces result in healthier, more productive occupants. Better yet, the more plants there are, the more benefits there are to be gained.

Scientists in Oslo, Norway introduced plants into various indoor spaces and discovered the following:

How PlantBox Helps

We understand that traditional planting isn’t always practical. That’s where PlantBox comes in: The cleverly simple, eco-friendly vertical garden that reconnects people with nature. Made from 100% recycled materials and designed to be stacked and clipped in rows to best fit your home, PlantBox is ideal for balconies, roof gardens, courtyards, conservatories and is even suitable indoors. PlantBox makes caring for plants carefree—go weeks between watering, know when to top up and exactly how much. £1 from every PlantBox goes to the PlantBox Trust, a charity which provides access to nature where it is needed. Join the growing revolution for a greener future! Find out more.

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As featured on ITV This Morning