Indoor Plants Can Reduce Stress, According To Science

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They say plant ladies are the new cat ladies, a claim that would seem to be backed up by the popularity of Instagram posts that feature a veritable jungle of greenery in a given influencer's space. But besides the effect on your social media game, as well as just creating a more lush environment to live in, there are actually some physical benefits of indoor plants that may just convince you to take a trip over to your local nursery ASAP.

There's a reason behind the fact that plants have become such an Instagram-friendly subject, and it goes deeper than aesthetics: Living with them can decrease your stress and make you feel more comfortable. "Plants are our natural partners in life and incorporating them into our lives could not only help us reconnect with the natural world, but also benefit our health and well-being," explains Paris Lalicata, Customer Experience Coordinator for The Sill, who is currently working with the National Association of Landscape Professionals to become certified as an Interior Horticulture Technician. "Visual exposure to plants can add life, reduce stress, and boost productivity in both the workplace and home."

And there's scientific evidence to back this idea up. A 2014 study by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, compared the results of a set of young adults interacting with indoor plants with one doing tasks on a computer. The participants in the former group exhibited a more suppressed nervous system and lowered psychological and physiological stress. This was largely attributed to a growing disconnection to the outdoors.

Such an effect also means plants can be especially beneficial in a work environment, which was seen in in a test by the American Society for Horticulture Science. The test showed a clear link between the presence of indoor plants in the workplace and infrequency of sick leave as well as an increase in productivity — so if you don't already have a plant on your desk, it might be worth trying out.

Additionally, Lalicata explains that lots of indoor plants (including easy-to-care-for varieties like snake plants, philodendron, aloe vera, spider plants, and dracaena) actually improve the air quality in your space. "Pollution is not only found in the outdoor air of dense cities, but also within the places we call work and home," she shares. "Airborne toxins and pollutant gases are emitted from mechanical equipment and building materials and contaminate the indoor air that we breathe." And because of their ability to create a natural filtration system, plants can help. "They can do this by absorbing the pollutants through the leaves, and transmitting the toxins to their roots where they’re converted into a food source," she adds.

Getting this detoxified effect in your place doesn't have to mean creating your own interior jungle either. In fact, according to Lalicata, having five to 10 plants in six to eight inch planters are enough to clean an 800 square foot space. An added bonus? Having a few plants around may also benefit your skin, since they act as a natural humidifier. All the more reason to add a few into your decor. To get you started here are a few beautifully pre-potted, indoor friendly varieties that happen to be user-friendly, even if you weren't born with a green thumb.