Did you know that bringing nature inside has both mental and physical health benefits? Studies have shown that keeping potted plants inside increases performance on creative tasks, improve your mood, and reduce stress. Plants exert positive influence on your psychological state by increasing the “perceived attractiveness” of a space, which contributes to stress reduction and mood improvement.
Plants can also help remove pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. These molecules are byproducts of many cleaning solutions, fuels, pesticides, and office supplies. Even craft supplies can contain VOCs- think of the strong scent of glues and permanent or dry erase markers. Those are VOCs you’re smelling, and they don’t disappear after the smell is gone.
When released into the air, VOCs can cause respiratory tract irritation, headaches, eye irritation, and organ damage (from long-term exposure). VOCs are more concentrated indoors because of reduced ventilation.
According to the EPA, “Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.”
Plants can trap and convert VOCs in the air into harmless compounds, literally cleaning the air you breath. Of course, plants also increase the oxygen content of a space because they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
Some plants that are easy to care for include peperomia, spider plants, "mother-in-law tongues" (aka snake plants), and pothos. Pothos is especially good at removing pollutants from the air! These plants can be most likely be found at a local home improvement store, Fred Meyer, or plant nursery.