The Positive Effect of Plants and Nature on our Lives

Having plants at home or in the office has a noticeable positive effect on both our physical and psychological stress from mental work.

The Positive Effect of Plants and Nature on our Lives

One and a half years ago the COVID crisis struck and this made me spend much more time at home in a “small” apartment, surrounded by concrete, in a big city.

I had been a runner for quite some years, but since I moved away from the Belgian seashore to Flanders, a big city, I increased my runs since it was often the only time I went outside. Since running can get a little boring, I always listen to audiobooks when on the road and I developed a strong interest in the field of positive psychology. I have listened to over 10 books on this topic and most of them provided me with the same useful advice on what is important in life and how to increase your overall happiness. One of the things that research has shown is that being in nature has a very positive effect on our wellbeing. The stress reducing effect of having a walk in nature is strongly present. While walking in an urban setting does not provide that same effect on our stress levels. So, upon hearing this over and over again I decided to stop running in the city and now most of my runs are in forests and, if I get the chance, on the beach. I also decided to do more trail runs in the sand dunes of my native hometown.

The nice thing about this benefit of surrounding yourself with nature is that it can also be mimicked by indoor plants. Without going into too much detail, it can be said that having plants at home or in the office has a noticeable positive effect on both our physical and psychological stress from mental work.

That is why at the start of the COVID crisis I invested in my first plant and now I have multiple plants at home. My favourite, a Papyrus plant has already grown so much that it reaches at least 2 meters! He also drinks 1.5 liters of water a day, so he needs a lot of attention.

Research with elderly people has shown that caring for plants gives a sense of purpose and responsibility, I can personally attest to this as I experience those feelings myself when attending to or thinking about my plants.

I am also very happy that in our Antwerp office we have multiple beautiful plants. I hope that after you have read about the benefits of nature and plants you might consider adding a plant or flowers to your home office and maybe discuss with your employer if adding additional plants to the office is an option.

I hope you enjoyed this read and feel free to send me any questions related to this topic.

Merijn Hillewaert

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