Therapy in a Terracotta Pot: Are Houseplants Good for Your Brain?
Hilton Carter © CICO Books 2019
Science backs up what we’ve suspected all along: that houseplants relieve stress and boost your mood
Though the jury is still out as to whether or not plants benefit from being talked to, there is some evidence that it does wonders for the human brain. Even brief interactions with nature are beneficial to our health, but for many urban dwellers, access to greenery is limited at best; this is especially true for millennials, who report higher anxiety and depression than prior generations. That’s where houseplants come in: They provide a crucial form of indoor nature exposure (INE), allowing denizens of the urban jungle to garner many of the benefits of spending time outside.
“Horticulture has great potential for improving human health and wellness,” explains Matthew Wichrowski, MSW HTR, a clinical assistant professor and senior horticultural therapist at NYU Langone Medical Center. “A biophilic space has the effect of improving mood and lessening depressive thought patterns.”
Plenty of science backs this up. Numerous studies over the past decade have shown that access to plants—including houseplants—reduces heart rate and blood pressure, improves concentration, elevates mood, and instills an overall sense of peace and relaxation. So feel free to indulge your houseplant addiction—it can bring you joy in more ways than one.
We’ve got you covered with the best houseplants for a variety of considerations, including: