In addition to all the humans in our little house, we have quite a few (much quieter) family members who also bring joy, help keep us healthy and improve our mental health.
Leaning back into nature is a guiding principle for the way we live, and while getting out barefoot, into the bush, forest, river or ocean is the ultimate connection to nature, creating your own oasis around you with indoor and outdoor plants also offers a host of health benefits.
They are great roommates, taking up the carbon dioxide we breathe out, converting it to fresh oxygen, helping our bodies work more effectively and reducing brain fatigue. In addition they act as natural air purifiers, filtering out pollutants such as volatile organic components (VOC’s), particulate matter, ammonia, formaldehyde & benzenes … and maybe even novel viruses.
But wait, there’s more! Research has shown that working in a space with plants can reduce both physiological and psychological stress, and increase productivity & focus. There is also a very strong likelihood that having an array of different plants around you can help improve your microbiome, which in turn will have beneficial effects on your immune system. (We always use organic fertilisers and pest control to minimise potentially toxic chemicals in our plants).
And then there’s the relaxing hobby of gardening, getting your hands dirty (and connecting with nature’s biome), chatting quietly to your greenery and potentially relieving anxiety & depression. Therapeutic gardening has actually been demonstrated to show promise as a nature-based intervention to improve the mental health of individuals experiencing psychological distress, in particular during the pandemic.
Finally, if you grow some edible herbs, greens, flowers or even sprouts in your pots or garden, you will reap the nutritional benefits of the rich array of phytochemicals they provide, improving many aspects of health and longevity.