By Jane Marsh
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
The world can be a stressful place. With a bigger spotlight on mental health, people are constantly looking for ways to reduce anxiety and depression.
Many people tackle their health problems with green spaces — any area with enough plants to make you feel comfortable and calm. Of course, nature is more accessible for some than others. For instance, urban dwellers may not always have green spaces nearby, but they can mimic those environments inside their homes.
Adding green spaces to your home is an excellent way to improve your well-being. Here’s how nature benefits your health and ways to turn your home green.
Does Nature Equal Happiness?
Nearly 70% of over 260 studies found a correlation between green space and mental and physical health. Green spaces are areas of trees and plants within urban environments. Some provide recreational opportunities like biking, walking, gardening or forest bathing.
People who spend time in nature often have lower blood pressure levels, fewer allergies and reduced anxiety and depression. There are also more opportunities for social interactions.
According to associate professor Marc Berman from the University of Chicago, walking for 50 minutes outside can improve cognition by 20%. Otherwise, he recommends a 20-minute daily walk or at least two hours in nature weekly.
Another study suggests spending four to eight hours outside every week for improved sleep habits. Needless to say, a dose of nature could be just what the doctor ordered for greater life satisfaction and health.
6 Ways to Add Green to Your Home
Living in a major city makes creating green spaces in your home all the more important. Home environments should fill you with comfort, wiping away negative thoughts and feelings. Here are six ways to effectively bring green into your household for better mental and physical health.
1. Grow Windowsill Herbs
Even those without a green thumb can successfully grow windowsill herbs. Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow indoors and contain nutrients with some impressive health benefits.
For example, basil has antioxidative properties, which can aid cardiovascular disease. Just inhaling basil essential oil can help manage plasma lipid markers and metabolic disorders for improved heart health.
The polyphenols in parsley have also demonstrated positive effects on depression, which may complement conventional treatments for mood disorders and anxiety.
2. Paint Your Walls
Adding green spaces to your home may mean literally adding green to a space. You have numerous green paint colors to choose from to transform every room into a relaxing indoor environment.
Perhaps you’ll go bold with a deep pine hue in the master en suite. Bathrooms as small as 5 feet by 4 feet may need a lighter green tone to feel less cramped. Wallpaper is an alternative to paint. Select a unique stick-and-peel floral pattern — such as giant monstera leaves — to bring greenery indoors.
3. Buy Houseplants
Turn every room of your home into a green space with potted or hanging houseplants. Spider or snake plants are top choices, requiring little watering and thriving in any type of natural light.
Peace lilies and Boston ferns are better options if you suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues. A recent study found they are air-purifying, removing volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide from indoor air.
You can also incorporate live plants into your home decor with a living wall. Living walls grow plants vertically and are sometimes an art feature.
4. Create a Backyard Oasis
Your backyard is an excellent place to create a green space for physical and mental health. Add some potted plants and seating to make it your new natural escape.
You can get creative with the design, too. For instance, the rugosa rose plant grows 4-6 feet high and is ideal for creating a living fence for privacy. You can also use its wilted leaves to make jelly and jam, providing a nourishing dose of vitamin C.
5. Hang Nature Artwork
Looking at photographs and artwork of natural landscapes can induce a sense of comfort and relaxation, so hang some pieces throughout your home.
Nature artwork may help you if you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Consider adding artwork of your favorite place or environment. You might also select photos you’ve taken personally, creating a collage or blowing up its size as a focal point.
6. Invest in a Sound Machine
Although not a literal green space, investing in a sound machine could be just as effective for your mental and physical well-being. Sound machines often have several nature environments, from forests to oceans to meadows.
A 2021 soundscape study of 68 U.S. National Parks uncovered improved pain levels, cognition, moods and stress. Animal noises, water and wind had the most significant impact on the study’s participants. Set your sound machine on your nightstand and imagine you’re falling asleep in the great outdoors.
Heal Your Mind and Body With Green Spaces
Bringing greenery into your home can boost your mental and physical health. Heal your mind and body with plants and natural tones for a healthier, more calming indoor atmosphere.
About the author:
Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.