Patient Study: Plants Reduce Anxiety, Promote Happiness, Decrease Pain and Fatigue
You may not think much of a plant, and you’ve probably forgone the tradition of bringing flowers to your loved ones in the hospital. Maybe because they’re men, or because flowers are expensive, or because they’re the last thing you’re thinking about when someone you love has been admitted after an accident.
Studies show you should reconsider.
We all know plants are our main source of our oxygen, but they’re also instrumental in helping us control electromagnetic smog in our environments. They can even help us feel better emotionally and physically.
Plants who are treated with kindness flourish wonderfully. (Having at least a touch of green-thumb can’t hurt) Plants who are largely forgotten, and reside in an unpleasant atmosphere certainly do not grow as well, or reach their full plant-y potential when compared to their peers.
A study focusing on patients recovering from abdominal surgery published by the Department of Horticulture produced significant insights into our relationship with the plant world. Before you roll your eyes because you haven’t undergone abdominal surgery, give the results a read:
“Patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers had significantly fewer intakes of postoperative analgesics, more positive physiological responses evidenced by lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms,”
This is huge– and not just for patient settings. From this study we can conclude anyone attempting to taper off of, or abstain from analgesics (including opioids, local anaesthetics paracetamol and NSAIDs) will benefit from the presence of flowering plants and foliage. Those with depression or anxiety will also benefit from spending more time around plants.
Introducing plant friends into your everyday life is simple! If you have a brown thumb, and kill every plant like my mother, try succulents. They flower and are super drought resistant. You can plant many succulents in one planter, or buy pretty hanging terrariums, which are popular right now. You can also consider a philodendron- which can survive in a mason jar of water just fine.
If you’re more adventurous I would recommend:
- Roses (I’ve seen mini bushes grow lovely on desks)
- Orchids (May be difficult to grow for beginners)
- Herbs (practical and beautiful)
- Forget Me Nots (The tiny sprouts on my desk)
- Small shrubs
- African Violet
- Air Plants
- Tomato Vines
- Avocado Trees (You can prune both the avocado and lemon trees, or buy dwarfs)
- Lemon Trees
- Strawberry Begonia
In fact, I love plants so much I have a mini garden on my desk, including, of course, my homemade blends of essential oils and herbs- so I’m never far away from nature for too long. I also have a tiny collection of crystals to help improve my workflow. (Speaking of which, they can use a cleansing!)
In a nutshell, flowering your environment with the beauty of nature helps you feel better, reduces anxiety, stress, and is linked with lower pain levels. So whether you’re in recovery or not, plants are a wonderful thing.
What are your favorite types of plants? Do you know they all have their own healing properties?
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.