Have you ever noticed that you feel better the moment you set foot in the garden, or that a smile seems to creep across your face when you spot a display stand packed with vividly-coloured flowers? Flowers and plants can provide stunning aesthetic touches to your home and garden, but they don’t serve a sole purpose. Flowers play a crucial role within garden ecosystems, particularly if you choose plants that attract pollinators such as birds, bees and butterflies.Many flowers and plants can also offer incredible mental health benefits. If you’re exploring planting options for your home, or you’re thinking about buying a bunch of blooms to cheer up a friend or relative, here are some of the best plants to boost mental health.
Plants that improve mental health
Flowers and plants offer a wealth of health benefits, and one of the most important advantages of having greenery and blossoms around you is improved mental health.
Psychological wellbeing is a subject of great interest and intrigue at the moment, and many of us are making a concerted effort to protect our mental health and to help those closest to us do the same. We often think about mental health in the context of psychological illnesses, for example, anxiety and depression, but many of us lead exceptionally busy and stressful lives so we should all be concerned about maintaining good mental health. A survey commissioned for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2018 suggested that up to 75% of UK adults feel overwhelmed or under pressure so our mental health isn’t something we should take for granted. Even if you’re perfectly happy and content, you can still take steps to shield and enhance your mental wellbeing.
Studies have shown that having plants at home and in the garden, or perhaps buying bunches of flowers for others, can have a positive impact on mental health. But which flowers are best for turning frowns upside down?
Here are 6 options to consider next time you are thinking or buying flowers or planning the planting in your garden, whether that is something you are doing yourself using your local garden centre to stock up or looking for landscaping in Essex companies that could help you.
The following plants are excellent examples of plants and flowers that have specific mental health benefits. But even just having a pretty posy of colourful flowers in a vase can help you feel much happier and improve your mental wellbeing.
Stress and anxiety are becoming increasingly prevalent. While self-help techniques such as meditation, exercise, and massage can help, it’s also wise to surround yourself with chrysanthemums. This beautiful flower has been shown to ease symptoms of stress and worry, and it can also help you to feel calmer and more relaxed. As well as buying bunches of flowers or plants for the garden, you can also purchase chrysanthemum tea, which boasts soothing properties to help you unwind.
Geraniums, or more correctly the perfumed pelargoniums which are the cheerful red, white and pink flowers that we see in abundance in hanging baskets and pots during the summer months, have a myriad of health benefits which is why it is common as an ingredient in essential oils including aromatherapy massage oil.
Do you ever feel like your mind is running away with you, or are you always on edge? If you tend to be a worrier, and you can’t switch off, consider filling a vase with geraniums. Geraniums are believed to promote peace of mind and calm. They also look stunning, and they have a really pleasant, subtle aroma, which is similar to that of roses.
Interestingly, a survey of 100 first-time mothers in 2012-13 showed that inhalation of geranium essential oil significantly reduced anxiety and diastolic blood pressure.
Research also shows that house plants have many beneficial health impacts. Snake plants, more commonly known as Mother-in-law’s Tongue, is one such example.
If you’re familiar with the mid-afternoon slump at work, or you struggle to get off to a flying start in the morning, consider investing in some snake plants. These vibrant, verdant plants are known to filter nasty chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichlorethylene and xylene; increase oxygen production at night; and reduce allergens in the air. Because of the amazing work they are doing while you sleep, a snake plant or two in your bedroom will help to boost your productivity, giving you the verve and vigour to make the most of your day.
Studies have shown that workers who are based in spaces scattered with plants and foliage are more productive and less prone to stress. The importance of plants in the workplace should not be underestimated!
The snake plant also has a calming scent, and research suggests that it can also help to alleviate the symptoms of headaches and irritation of the eyes.
Lavender is something of a superstar when it comes to plants with power. It is probably one of the most popular essential oils and is loved by bees and butterflies. Just calming sitting in the garden watching and listing to the gentle buzz around this aromatic plant can be so de-stressing.
This striking purple plant is often used in products to aid sleep, and it also has potent calming abilities. Insomnia is a common sleep problem, which affects up to 10% of the UK adult population. If you can’t sleep, and you feel like you’ve tried everything, add a pot of lavender to your bedside table or use lavender-scented candles, diffusers or drops.
Research also suggests that lavender may be useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression and restlessness.
Jasmine is a really pretty flower, but it’s not just its beautiful white petals that will make you smile.
Jasmine also helps to ease anxiety and it can also help you sleep. Sleep is vital for optimum mental and physical health, and without it, we can become irritable, restless, exhausted and more susceptible to illnesses and infections.
Peace Lilies are popular houseplants which, it is believed, help people flourish mentally, physically and spiritually. It is suggested that they can help maintain a good work-life balance. Peace lilies also neutralise harmful indoor chemicals.
A word of warning though: peace lilies are poisonous to cats and dogs.