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The Top 10 Office Plants for Stress Relief: Improving Mental Health in the Workplace

An organized home office desk setup with a jade plant to promote a calm environment

The modern workplace can feel like a high-stress environment, with deadlines, difficult coworkers, long hours and burnout taking a toll on our mental and emotional health.

And if you work-from-home, the isolation, lack of social interaction and Zoom call overload can cause anxiety as well.

But what if the answer to reducing workplace stress was as simple as adding a few plants to your office or home working space décor?

And what if we told you that you can be a novice gardener and still keep them alive?

It turns out, there’s science behind the idea that a plant helps reduce stress levels and can improve your state-of-mind.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the therapeutic benefits of office plants, from the science behind greenery as stress relievers, to the easy-to-care-for desk succulents that can help improve your workday.

The Top 10 Plants That Help With Anxiety

If you're looking to relieve stress at work with indoor plants, this list showcases the best choices and all of them are easy to care for.

A snake plant in a black vase

1. Snake Plant:

Also known as Mother-in-Law's Tongue, the snake plant is known for its air-purifying properties, removing toxins and providing a soothing, stress-relieving environment.

Lavender plant leaves laying on a round table
2. Lavender Plant:

Aside from its stunning purple hue, studies have shown that the scent of the lavender plant reduces anxiety, helps with mild depression, and improves sleep. Plus, it's an absolutely gorgeous plant.

Three aloe vera plants in a rock vase
3. Aloe Vera Plant:

The aloe vera plant not only purifies air but the gel from its leaves has a calming effect when applied to the skin, helping sooth insect bites. It can also minify sunburn symptoms, if you ever get the chance to leave work and hit the beach.

English ivy wrapped around an old book
4. English Ivy:

The English ivy is potentially one of the best air-filtering house plants, which helps create a serene working environment. It'll feel like you're working out of the Shire.

A single jasmine plant flower
5. Jasmine Plant:

The sweet fragrance of a jasmine plant can promote a state of calm, reduce stress levels, and increase alertness. Plus, they bloom beautiful flowers even with indirect sunlight.

A spider plant in a stripped vase casting a shadow indoors
6. Spider Plant:

This low-maintenance plant purifies the air by absorbing carbon monoxide and other toxins, which can help reduce stress and relieve anxiety.

A peace lily plant in a white vase sitting on a windowsill indoors
7. Peace Lily:

A popular indoor plant that helps to filter out harmful toxins. The sight of its elegant white flowers can instill a sense of tranquility.

A peppermint plant growing on a desk
8. Peppermint plant:

The refreshing scent of peppermint can help to reduce feelings of stress, fatigue, and anxiety. It's easy to grow and adds a pop of greenery to your desk. Plus, it helps cure an upset stomach and people with stomach ulcers often drink the tea from the leaves to lessen symptoms.

A woman watering a jade plant with a white pitcher indoors
9. Jade Plant:

The jade plant is a popular succulent known for its vibrant green leaves and resilience. It symbolizes good luck and prosperity and is often associated with positive energy and financial success. This low-maintenance plant thrives in various conditions and can bring a sense of tranquility to any space.

A bowl of water holding a bunch of chamomile flowers
10. Chamomile Plant:

Known for its calming properties, the chamomile plant releases a soothing fragrance that can significantly reduce stress levels and promote a sense of relaxation and well-being. Plus, you can brew the dried flowers into chamomile tea to help you sleep at night.

The Best Indoor Plants Winner: The Snake Plant

Snake Plants earn the title of the best indoor plant for stress relief for many reasons. This hardy, resilient plant is renowned for its powerful air-purifying properties.

The Snake Plant can filter out harmful toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene from the air, promoting a more soothing working environment and better mental and physical state.

Better air quality has been linked to lower anxiety levels, improved cognitive function, and overall better mental health, making the Snake Plant an excellent choice for any office or home working space.

Moreover, the Snake Plant is an extremely low-maintenance plant, perfect for busy office workers or work-from-homers.

It requires minimal watering and can thrive in both low light and indirect light conditions.

This makes it an ideal office plant, as it doesn't add to the stress of needing constant care and attention.

The simplicity and ease of care, coupled with the Snake Plant's impressive air-purifying capabilities, truly make them the best indoor plants for promoting a less stressful and healthier workplace environment.

The Science behind Indoor Plants as Stress Relievers:

Indoor plants can have a significant impact on reducing stress and anxiety, and the science behind this is rooted in our innate connection to nature.

This phenomenon is explained by the Biophilia Hypothesis, proposed by the biologist Edward O. Wilson. According to this theory, humans have an instinctive bond with other living systems.

This bond is believed to have evolved over thousands of years during which our ancestors lived in agrarian settings.

When it comes to the physiological effects, research has shown that interacting with plants can reduce the production of cortisol, the body's main stress hormone, lower blood pressure, and increase feelings of relaxation.

This is due, in part, to the calming visual aesthetics of plants and their ability to improve air quality.

Further, the act of caring for a living thing provides a sense of satisfaction and purpose.

In terms of cognitive benefits, a study conducted by the University of Michigan found that being around plants can improve memory and attention span by 20 percent.

The presence of plants in indoor spaces can also stimulate creativity and problem-solving skills.

In essence, the presence of plants taps into our inherent desire to be connected with nature, creating a more serene and therapeutic environment that aids in stress reduction.

Studies on The Effects of Indoor Plants on Stress

Study 1: The Washington State University Study

This study by Washington State University involved 96 participants and focused on the effects of indoor plants on stress levels. Participants were asked to perform a stressful task in front of a computer.

They found that the presence of indoor plants in the vicinity helped the participants recover from stress more quickly as compared to those without plants around them.

Study 2: The Norwegian University of Life Sciences Study

A study conducted by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences found that employees who worked in offices with indoor plants experienced less stress and sickness than those who worked in environments without greenery.

The study confirmed the psychological and physiological benefits of having plants in the office, particularly their ability to relieve stress.

Study 3: The University of Technology, Sydney Study

The University of Technology in Sydney carried out a study on indoor plants and found a 37% decrease in tension and anxiety amongst employees when plants were included in the office.

The researchers suggested that including indoor plants in office spaces can contribute to significant improvements in human life.

The Impact of Indoor Plants on Mental Health: What The Experts Say

  1. Dr. Chris Knight from Exeter University: "Offices decorated with plants make staff feel happier and can increase productivity by up to 15 percent."
  2. Dr. Tøve Fjeld, Professor of Horticulture at the University of Life Sciences: "Indoor plants in the work environment can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other symptoms of indoor air pollution."
  3. Kenneth Freeman, Head of Innovation at Ambius: "We know from previous research that plants can lower physiological stress, increase attention span and improve well-being."
  4. Dr. Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, Japan: "Contact with nature and plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress. Greenery helps us to relax and recover from stress."
  5. Mike Sill, Anxiety Guru and Mental Health Awareness Advocate: "Stress and anxiety levels are at an all time high. While prescription medication is hastily and commonly prescribed, having a few houseplants can oftentimes decrease the harmful effects before you start popping pills."

The Top 10 Health Benefits of Indoor Office Plants

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1. Reduction of Anxiety and Stress Levels

Indoor plants can significantly reduce stress and anxiety by creating a calming environment and helping to restore a sense of balance and tranquility in the workplace.

2. Absorption of Harmful Chemicals

Many indoor plants are known to absorb toxic substances present in the air, such as formaldehyde and benzene, thereby improving the overall air quality in an office.

3. Promotion of Fresh Air

Plants act as natural air purifiers, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and promoting fresh air, which can lead to increased productivity.

The air purifying qualities make your living space or working space healthier and decrease mental fatigue.

4. Cognitive Function Enhancement

The presence of plants in a workspace can boost cognitive functions like memory and attention span, spurring creativity and problem-solving skills.

5. Possession of Anti-inflammatory Properties

Certain indoor plants, such as the Peace Lily, have been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, potentially providing health benefits such as reduced risk of respiratory issues.

6. Exhibiting Sedative Properties

Some plants, like the Jasmine, release a soothing scent that exhibits sedative properties, which can help improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.

7. Ability to Remove Toxins

Plants like the Spider Plant and Boston Fern are known to remove toxins from the air, contributing to a healthier and cleaner work environment.

8. Boosting of Energy Levels

The vibrant colors and natural beauty of indoor plants can stimulate the senses and boost the energy levels of employees, improving mood and motivation.

9. Alleviation of Breathing Problems

By improving air quality and humidity levels, indoor plants can help alleviate common breathing problems and promote respiratory health.

10. Improvement of Mental Well-being

Caring for indoor plants can provide a sense of satisfaction and nurture a connection with nature, which can enhance happiness and promote positivity in the workplace.

The Effects of Stress Relieving Indoor Plants on Mental Disorders

The role of indoor plants in creating a soothing atmosphere cannot be overstated, especially in the context of mental disorders.

Being in the presence of greenery can have a calming effect on the mind, contributing significantly in reducing stress.

An indoor plant helps by creating a sense of tranquillity and serenity, allowing the mind to relax and focus, thereby facilitating better mental health management.

Through their calming restorative effects, stress relieving indoor plants can assist the body in establishing a more balanced response to stress, aiding in stress relief and promoting overall mental well-being.

How Can an Indoor Plant Help Cure the Sunday Scaries?

A woman holds Sunday Scaries CBD Oil by her plants

The 'Sunday Scaries' is a term that refers to the stress and anxiety that often accompanies the impending transition from the weekend's freedom to the structured routine of the workweek.

Indoor plants can act as a natural remedy for this phenomenon. They create a serene and tranquil environment that helps to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Their natural beauty and the process of caring for them offer a mindful experience that can help you get out of your own head and transcend the feeling of isolation.

They act as a visual reminder of nature, which is known for its calming effect on the human mind. So if you can't take a hike to decompress, buy a stress relieving plant from the list above.

By surrounding ourselves with greenery, we can carry a piece of this tranquility into our personal spaces, helping to mitigate the 'Sunday Scaries' and making the transition into the workweek smoother and less stressful.

Conclusion: Embracing the Many Benefits of Office Plants

In conclusion, the rich properties of indoor plants present a myriad of benefits that extend beyond mere aesthetic appeal.

Thriving in diverse settings, these botanical companions release oxygen and absorb harmful toxins, playing a pivotal role in air purification.

Simultaneously, their natural allure and calming presence promote relaxation and a sense of tranquility, especially beneficial in high-stress environments like offices or working-from-home.

Furthermore, our exploration of various studies illuminates the significant psychological advantages facilitated by these green friends, from boosting cognitive functions to reducing anxiety.

In essence, the air purifying abilities and multifaceted benefits of indoor plants make them indispensable components of any indoor space, fostering a healthier, happier, and more productive environment.

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