Your plants might be silently healing you

You might think this statement is click-bait, but it’s not and here’s why…

A study conducted at a Pennsylvania hospital (1) placed patients recovering from the same surgeries in two identical rooms, except some rooms faced a brick wall and others faced a view of trees. Statistically significant differences were found between the tree-view patients and brick wall-view patients on patient length of stay, pain medication use, and nurse notes.  

Patients who had a view of trees were hospitalized for shorter periods (7.96 days) than patients who had a view of the brick wall (8.7 days). Brick wall-view patients had more negative nurse notes (3.96) such as “upset and crying” or “needs much encouragement” compared to the tree-view patients who only had 1.13 per patient negative nurse notes. The tree-view patients more frequently received weaker pain medications etc. The list goes on.  

So what is at play here? Psychologist Ming Kuo who works at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and studied the effect that nature has on people found that when you look out at a green landscape, even from indoors, your heart rate will go down, and you’ll change from sympathetic nervous activity over to parasympathetic nervous activity (2).  Which is going from fight or flight into tend and befriend.  

So the next time you water your plants take a deep breath, smile and consider the exchange that is occurring.  

Hidden brain podcast ‘Our Better Nature: How the Great Outdoors Can improve Your Life’