Your Workspace Needs a Little Plant

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The world is full of advice on how to make your job less stressful. For lots of us, the millions of links, studies, and self-help books may only add to the load. There may be one sure-fire trick to help you unclench your jaw and loosen up your shoulders, though, and all it wants in return is a little water and light.

A team of Japanese horticulturists have just released a study looking at how plants can reduce worker stress in the office. While plenty of studies have confirmed and reconfirmed that people relax when they're close to green things, this is the first study that examined stress in a real workplace, rather than under laboratory conditions.

Participants interacted with small plants, such as air plants, either by simply looking at one on their desk whenever they felt tired or by caring for it. Both methods worked across the board; results included lower pulse rates, a pretty clear sign of lowered stress. We already know that flowers can be a big mood booster both at home and at work; this study shows that even a small cactus can help you destress on the clock.

No matter which plants you can squeeze into your workspace, it's important to make note of how to properly care for them. Make sure you're able to provide the right kind of light exposure. Inexperienced plant owners also tend to overwater. If this is you, consider looking into houseplants that are hard to kill. If nothing else, seek out natural areas on your commute — that can shake off a stressful day too.