Lifestyle - 26 Apr, 2019

How to find your plant/life balance

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We all know we should eat our greens, but did you know simply being around greenery is beneficial for both our physical and mental health?

In fact, for centuries, scientists and have been carrying out experiments to outline precisely how these leafy wonders affect our health and happiness. In our busy lives, it’s hard to find time to immerse ourselves in nature, but science has proven that the humble pot plant may be just as good.

With the help of the Plant Life Balance app, you’ll be reaping the many benefits of plants, by bringing the outdoors in.


The science behind the benefits of indoor plants

The creators of Plant Life Balance worked with researchers from RMIT and the University of Melbourne to analyse existing research. They combed through 101 studies and found the two main benefits of plants: improved air quality and wellbeing.

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Breathe easy

Plants can increase air quality by absorbing airborne pollutants and volatile organic compounds, which can be up to 10 times higher indoors. The researches concluded that adding just a single pot plant to a 4 x 5m room would increase the air quality by 25%, with 5 plants showing a 75% increase.

Garden state of mind

Interestingly, the research revealed that plants have a positive impact on mental health and the brain.

“People have an innate need to be connected to nature, this comes from the fact we lived and survived in nature for most of human development. The brain is more relaxed, with its fight/flight response less on alert if there is nature present,” explains Dr. Dominique Hes, University of Newcastle. “Pot plants can give this connection to nature when we are indoors. We need more than just pot plants in our lives, but the research showed that those with plants in their homes were happier, healthier, less stressed, and so forth,”

Dominique said that being around plants is like having a good night’s sleep for the brain.

[The brain] works better with nature around. And when it works better, the higher levels of thinking can happen – those that allow us to deal with conflict, distress and other challenges with a more level head.

Creating your plant life balance

By using the Plant Life Balance App’s style feature, you can upload a photo of your room and test out how a variety of sizes and species of plants will look, and ultimately create the design that’s right for you. There is also a fantastic feature that lets users rate their existing plant collection so that you can see how far off you are from achieving the ideal number of plants to reap the health benefits.

Dominique suggests that around five pot plants in a medium room, in a variety of sizes and species, will give the optimal benefit.

“There is no limit above that, obviously the space still needs to be functional!”

Variety is key

The Plant Life Balance app will also point you towards species that will work best in your space in regards to natural light and amount of care they need. Be honest with yourself about how much time and effort you’re willing to put into your plants, because the only thing more depressing than no plants is a room full of dead ones.

The research also outlined the importance of having a variety and aesthetically pleasing collection of plants.

“It is best to choose plants and looks that align with your aesthetic sense. This will give greater satisfaction and feelings of wellbeing. Also, nature isn’t a monoculture so the benefit to the brain is greater if there is a variety of plants, leaf types, colours, and sizes”.

Words by Nell Matzen

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