More Greenery in Your Living Space Can Help Your Mental-Wellbeing
Written by: Lilly Huang, 4th Year Ivey Student
From TikTok apartment tours to influencer’s Instagram posts, it seems that more and more individuals have grown an affinity for greenery in their living space…and for a good reason! A growing number of research publications have linked plants and nature to increased psychological well-being in individuals. Stay tuned to find out how greener environments benefit your overall and mental health!
Reduced Anxiety and Stress
Research has found that stress reduction and mental restoration are positively correlated with increased living spaces with, near, or surrounded by nature. Increased nature in residential areas is positively correlated with overall health and mental well-being in general. Specifically, women are more susceptible to increased levels of stress in the absence of green spaces. One research article, in particular, argues that increased areas of nature encourages residents to participate in more daily physical activity. Exercise and physical activity have been proven to reduce cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress regulation in our bodies. The next time you’re feeling a little down, take a walk, breathe in the fresh air and let your stress unwind in nature.
According to Britannica, “biophilia” is “the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.” This idea may seem intuitive to many people but it isn’t practiced in our daily lives. With increased urban development, modern architecture has evolved to prioritize population growth over green spaces. Fortunately, bringing in small components of nature like indoor plants can achieve similar effects. For instance, office workers have been shown to report decreased levels of stress simply with increased exposure to roses. So, go ahead buy that succulent, collect those hanging plants, they may be more beneficial to your living space than just aesthetic reasons.
Greater Happiness/Life Satisfaction
Looking to lead a more satisfying way of life? Increase your daily interactions with nature, specifically water! Consistent interaction with nature can increase self-esteem, stabilize mood, and improve your overall well-being. Specifically, surrounding yourself in open-spaced environments can be beneficial not just to the individual but also a key player in overall community well-being. The next time, you’re house hunting, look for places close to parks and forests, it might just be the perfect escape for when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed!
Enhanced Memory Retention
While the other aspects of green spaces and mental health seemed to be a little bit more predictable, this fact personally caught me by surprise. A recent 2012 study found that individuals who walked through a green arboretum displayed a 20% increase in working memory. Meanwhile, other studies have seen better memory retention in stroke patients with increased exposure to nature. So, the next time you’re in a study funk, take a break and sit in nature, it might just help you memorize those psych 1000 terms better.
Whether it’s a stroll in the park, a little residential pop of green, or a cute little succulent you’ve proudly brought up, remember to embrace any nature you have in your life. The next time you’re feeling a little out of your element, talk to a professional, unwind, and invite a little bit of nature into your daily life.