Do you talk to your plants? If not, maybe you should – almost half, 48%, of people researched by Trees.com admitted talking to the leafy creatures.
And a majority of those individuals, 62%, believe it has helped their mental health.
The study surveyed 1,250 people and asked if, why and how often they talk to their plants.
A majority say they only talk to their houseplants. However, 62% talk to outdoor plants and 37% talk to the trees they pass on the street.
When asked how often they talk to their plants, 70% of the participants say ‘occasionally’ and 9% only talk to their plants ‘rarely’.
But 1 in 5 people say they talk to their plants at home or to the trees outside every day.
And more than a fifth of the participants, 27.67%, say they have cherished a plant and even 22.5% have kissed one.
When asked why they participate in what most would consider an unusual practice, these were some of the answers:
- “I like it and I’ve read that it helps them grow.”
- “I am proud and happy, because my plants are beautiful!!”
- “They have feelings and when I talk to my plants they move.”
- “They are our beautiful friends [I want to] thank them for their beauty. Houseplants help with oxygen [too]I believe.”
- “I don’t know if I have a reason. I think it’s more like I’m just thinking out loud.”
Regardless of how you choose to interact with your plants, possessing the oxygen-producing organisms can be beneficial for overall health, including mental health, according to Gary Altman, director of the horticultural therapy program at Rutgers University.
“Having plants in your home or office really helps increase positive feelings and decrease feelings of fear and anger associated with that uncertainty about what’s to come,” Altman tells CNBC Make It.
Plant care as a form of healing is referred to as horticultural therapy, and Altman describes the practice as “using plants for treatment and rehabilitation for people recovering from an illness or injury or adjusting to a disability.”
According to Altman, the treatment can be used for people who struggle with mental health and those with physical or developmental/mental disabilities.
Horticultural therapy allows individuals to work through challenges they face in their own lives by shifting their focus to control something more predictable, he notes.
“Just step away from the thing that’s stressing you out and turn to your plants for a few minutes, maybe mist them, water them,” Altman says, “that gives you a little space to offer yourself some holiness.”
Let alone, have a plant on your desk while working has been associated with less stress and anxiety while working.
And studies have shown that The world’s longest-living people garden as a hobby.
Being a plant parent can also teach you valuable lessons before taking on a huge responsibility like getting a pet, Altman says.
Looking at your plant can be a check-in for yourself to decide if you’re ready to take a big step that involves more weight, he adds.
“It’s kind of a tool to measure how well you’re doing,” Altman says. “It’s about learning that nurturing skill, so for people who may not be in the best place of your life, there could be a lesson to learn there.”
You can even reap some of the benefits of having a real plant if you consider alternatives, such as aesthetically pleasing artificial plants and hanging images of nature around your home, he says.
But it’s also important to remember that as a first-time plant owner, there will be ups and downs.
“I just learned from my mistakes, so I encourage people not to get discouraged if their plants don’t grow and bloom and don’t look as good as they do on Instagram,” Altman says.
“It’s not really about that. It’s about learning from the experience and doing it.”
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