When we contact nature and the natural world, we all feel an amazing sense of peace, happiness, and gratitude. Whether it’s a stroll through the park, sitting around a fire and gazing at the flames, having a fresh bouquet of flowers in a vase in our living room, floating blissfully in a pool beneath a cascading waterfall, or misting our trailing hanging plant that brightens up the floating shelf in our bedroom, we love it all.
These feelings are not unique, they are prevalent across humans. This is due to a genetic connection and natural affinity to nature, as proposed by biologist E. O. Wilson.
Biophilia: Our Innate Connection to Nature and Plants
Biophilia refers to this innate connection and “love of nature.” Philia is the Greek word for love and a strong sense of attraction. The inverse of a phobia.
Concrete walls, brickwork, and shopping malls make our lives appear so little and lifeless. The growing acceptance of urban expansion, as well as the need for additional buildings and infrastructure, as well as longer working hours and increased time spent indoors, are reducing the space for living things, depleting our trees, and weakening our connection with nature.
We are physically built with a genetic and intrinsic need to be connected to nature and to dwell in places other than buildings. As our natural environments become more concrete-jungle-like, including plants in our living and working areas is becoming increasingly important for our mental health and overall welfare.
Fortunately, the concepts of Biophilia and Biophiliac Design – bringing natural components into the built environment – as well as the growing desire to bring life into our indoor spaces are reconnecting us with nature!
The Benefits of Increasing Our Connection with Nature and Plants
Increasing our connection with nature has a significant impact on both our physiological and psychological reactions. Spending time in nature has been proved in studies to improve human health and well-being.
Spending time in natural settings and engaging with nature on a daily basis has been shown to improve our mood, concentration and productivity, creativity, keep our senses in tune, refocus our attention and energy, help us better manage stress, promote healing, and ultimately make us feel good both physically and mentally.
Plants also give life, texture, and color to our indoor settings, as well as remove pollutants, absorb CO2, and release oxygen, ultimately cleansing the air and helping us feel better. We definitely need more plants in our life!
Proven Benefits of Working Amongst Nature and Plants
According to the study, “workers in green workspaces had a more positive orientation to their work environment and to their work than those in lean workspaces.” Essentially, the study demonstrated that incorporating natural components into the workplace, such as indoor plants, increased productivity, focus, creativity, and positively toward work, while also enhancing engagement and, as a result, overall pleasure.
Slow Living and Caring for Plants
In addition to the benefits of having plants in our homes and their ability to improve our health, we must also consider the benefits of caring for plants and the hobby of indoor gardening itself.
In a time of fear and worry, the recent worldwide pandemic and shared shift in our lives and interrupted routines has made us acutely conscious of our need for connection to nature, as well as our yearning for care and nurturing possibilities. Slow living and the knowledge of the importance of doing things intentionally and being present in our lives has exploded!
Indoor gardening and plant care is the best activity for encouraging calm and purposeful living. Taking the time to care for a living object and making the effort to maintain a plant provides people happiness and a sense of peace. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment and joy that comes with a new leaf on your Delicious Monster or when your friends comment on your beautiful, growing Calathea!
How Plants Make us Happy
It is undeniable that plants improve our lives significantly. And, considering all of the health and wellness benefits, as well as the general visual appeal and soothing feeling that having plants in our homes gives, there is no doubting that having plants in our homes makes us happy.
It’s in our DNA to live and work among plants. Plants make our lives more enjoyable. We enjoy sharing our home with plants. All because we were created to live in more places. A true jungle, not just a concrete jungle!