• Emma Buryd

How a Ficus Saved My Life

What you missed the most during confinement? Going out with your friends? Going to the movies? I miss all that… uh and of course, also not having to worry about a lethal virus killing me or my family.

Those were good times.

During the quarantines, mental health and well-being were given much more importance, the importance they always deserved. Overnight we have thousands of Youtubers, blogs, celebrities, and the news media bombarding us with thousands of things to do at home to stay (at least a little) sane. Why was Jimmy Fallon telling me to meditate and manage my stress? 2020 was a crazy year.

I personally tried everything. I exercised, meditated, painted, wrote (quite a bit, because it's my job, duh), took online courses, tried to learn French (that didn't go so well for me). But without knowing it, one of the things that helped me the most over the months, and they continue to help me, is keeping my plants alive and healthy. Without realizing it my apartment became a greenhouse (all legal, I promise). I recently read a little and it turns out that the studies support me, if you want to stay sane, buy some plants.

Stay sane, go green

While doing research to be professional or meticulous, I discovered that the University of Seville realized all this before I did. They did a series of studies and surveys and the results showed that people with plants in their homes were emotionally healthier than those without.

So I was always right, plants have a je ne sais quoi (the only thing I learned in my French course) that has a positive effect on our health and our mood.

The quarantine deprived us all of being able to go to green spaces in the open air, and we never realized the importance of going to a park until we could go anymore. What is the solution? bring green to our homes. I became a crazy cat lady, but with plants. They all have names, my favorite is Rupert, but don't tell the others, because they get jealous, especially Eugene.

Positive thoughts and plants

The study revealed that we are naturally attracted to natural elements and that having them in our home has a regulating effect on our mood. On the other hand, those who felt better about having plants, prefer to have them indoors rather than outside in a garden. So if you are going to become a crazy plant lady like me, it is best to fill the interior of your house with them.

Basically, the effect of the plants is something visual. Being exposed to visual stimuli promotes positive emotions, such as calm and tranquility, in addition to bright colors that have an effect of relaxing tensions in our body. Which makes total sense to me, when you think of a relaxing vacation, do you think of going to a natural place full of greenery or a big city full of people and traffic jams?

Benefits of gardening on mental health

Gardening was already considered a therapeutic activity, which explains why people start to plant flowers when they retire. But just taking care of a few plants that you have in your apartment will have benefits in your mood.

Promote physical activity: only the action of stopping to water the plants in your house counts as physical activity (almost as tiring as cross fit if you ask me), plus just having the plants will improve air quality. Did you know that plants are like air purifiers but, like, natural? that's crazy!

Regulate your moods: as I already mentioned, only having the green of plants present in your day-to-day will make you feel more positive feelings. On the other hand, gardening can stimulate the secretion of dopamine and serotonin.

Releases stress, promotes attention: being attentive to the health and well-being of your plants develops concentration and memory. Seeing how your plants grow and become more beautiful has rewarding effects on us as well as releasing tension. Everything may be going wrong but at least my ficus looks strong and firm!

It makes us feel less lonely: people who take care of their plants claim to feel less alone, which was very important during quarantine. Maybe you laughed when I told you that I give my plants names but who's laughing now!

My personal recommendations if you want to have more plants in your house are: look for color, the more the better and take care of them. At first, it may seem complicated but there are thousands of tutorials on YouTube and the internet on how to give them the best care. Also, it is a very cheap hobby, you don't have to buy a lot of things.

Being responsible for life can give us a better perception of how to take care of our health and well-being. If you can keep a plant alive and healthy you can take care of your mind and stay healthy. Don't forget: you just need a lot of water and sunlight… uh and for your plants too.

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