Get growing!

Maryalicia Post says greens really are good for ophthalmologists

Maryalicia Post

Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2018

‘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 the stress, anxiety and depression that come with the lifestyle. A meta review of studies at 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; just one plant can make the difference in raising mood and reducing stress levels And 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 get started is to download the interactive Plant Life Balance app devised by RMIT and Melbourne University. Take a picture of your space with your mobile phone, choose the visual effect you’d be happy with, then follow instructions to add the appropriate potted plants. The app calculates the therapeutic benefits of your new decor. Free download at iTunes and the Google Play Store.

A residual benefit of growing 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”. 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 commonly available plants that do the job: Areca palm, mother in law’s tongue and the money plant.

Greens really are good for you..

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