Flowers and plants proven to boost mental wellbeing

Study on the impact of flowers and plants on mental health brought to the fore as continuing coronavirus lockdown puts strain on personal wellbeing while staying at home.

While there’s nothing like a surprise flower delivery to make you feel special and loved – and there’s no escaping the fact that flowers will brighten a room – scientific research has confirmed that the mental health benefits of fresh flowers and plants are far reaching.

A study by the American Society for Horticulture Science measuring the effects of having flowers – or not – in hospital rooms on a person's recovery from surgery. The study involved 90 patients who were recovering from appendectomies. Some of them received flowers and plants in their hospital rooms while others did not.

The patients who did have flora in their rooms benefitted from lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, and lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue than those who were plant-less. They also reported more positive feelings and higher satisfaction with their rooms and took significantly fewer post-op painkillers.

“Findings of this research suggest that plants in a hospital environment could be non-invasive, inexpensive and an effective complementary medicine for patients recovering from abdominal surgery,” the study concluded.

Even if you’re not recovering in a hospital room, having fresh flowers and/or plants around could still have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. This is a point that resonates perhaps more than ever before as the coronavirus lockdown continues.

What’s more, having plants in your workspace may improve how you think – which come in handy as home working becomes the new norm.

In a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, researchers demonstrated that the presence of plants in an office setting boosts an individual’s ability to maintain attention.

As humans spend more of their lives in front of screens, scientists have devoted more attention to the effects these artificial environments have on the mind. Sometimes, this study suggests, it may be possible to reap benefits with simple changes in decorating strategy.