Greens are good for you
Relieving stress is always a challenge for ophthalmologists
‘Earth heading for 25-hour day.’
The headline gave me a flutter of anticipation. We all know that ‘work expands to fill the time allotted to it’ and now at last the shoe might be on the other foot – time expanding to accommodate the pressure of work. But no. The article goes on to explain the extra hour is due to the slower rotation of the earth around the sun and won’t be ours to spend for 200 million years.
So that means the over-stretched among us – and that’s most ophthalmologists – will continue to fit 25 hours of work into a 24-hour day and look for other ways to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. A meta review of studies at www.sciencedirect.com suggests a novel approach… ‘nature therapy’– aka light gardening.
Fortunately for the city dweller, you don’t even need a garden. The main benefit comes from the interaction with nature itself. Not only do mood and creativity get a boost, other studies confirm that tending your aspidistra may lead to less sickness and improved attentiveness too.
An entertaining way to start is with the Plant Life Balance app from RMIT and Melbourne University. Take a picture of your space, choose the visual effect you’d like, then follow instructions to add the appropriate plants. The app calculates the therapeutic benefits of your new decor. Download at iTunes and the Google Play Store.
A residual benefit of houseplants is cleaner air. Even NASA weighs in on the ability of plants to remove “volatile organic compounds which lurk around the average office, in carpets and furnishings, solvents and ink” (https://spinoff.nasa.gov). A NASA publication, How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home or Office, explains: “Plants emit water vapour that creates a pumping action to pull contaminated air down around a plant’s roots, where it is then converted into food for the plant.”
A TED talk, How to grow fresh air by Indian environmentalist Kamal Meattle, winnows the list down to three common plants that do the job: Areca palm, mother in law’s tongue and the money plant.
Greens really are good for you.