Kettering Health Professional says houseplants can help improve mental and physical well-being

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – When most people think about plants, fruits, or vegetables, the outdoors may come to mind, but experts say houseplants can have a positive impact on health now that people are spending more time indoors.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor for Kettering Health, Emily Pyles, said the health benefits plants provide are especially important with conditions and expectations constantly changing due to the pandemic.

“From a mental health standpoint, I cannot tell you how many times I talk to people about what’s called grounding and being kind of present and in the moment. And so there is definitely therapeutic benefits to getting your hands in the dirt, paying attention to filling that pot with water, picking a pot that you like.”

Pyles said those benefits are evident in nature, and bringing even a few small plants indoors can foster a calming effect in the home, increasing oxygen levels and promoting optimism. 

“Being able to see something, see something that’s alive and thriving is a big help.”

Experts from Kettering Health Network said there are even more perks to being plant-parents than those mentioned above, including deterring illness, boosting healing and improving mood. General Manager of Knollwood Garden Center in Beavercreek, John Scott, added, houseplants and general gardening sales spiked during the pandemic for those reasons, in addition to their ability to enhance the look of indoor spaces. But he said aside from their aesthetic appeal, plants’ air-purification qualities also make them an easy part of the self-care routine.

“When you have a plant in your house, A: you’ve got something to take care of. B: it’s just something that really brightens the house up. C: there’s a lot of health benefits from the way they cleanse the air, the way they add light to the house.”

Most of all, Pyles added, the maintenance and visibility of even a beginner level piece of greenery in the home or in the workplace can help steer focus away from stressors and the pandemic, toward hope and optimism.

“It’s a lot harder to be distracted and have your mind elsewhere thinking about the next day, thinking about all the what-ifs, thinking about what tomorrow is going to bring. Right now, right here, this is within my control, this is something that I can nurture.”

Scott added, caring for a plant can be as simple or challenging as you’d like. To find what will work for you, you can do your own research, or stop by a local garden center to find what will be most suitable for your home.

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