If you have kids, then you will know all about ‘bringing the outside in’: mud on the carpets, caterpillars housed in margarine tubs with the Italian salad leaves you bought for dinner scattered around them. In this case, bringing the outside in can have a negative effect on wellbeing, especially mine (how to convince my son that George the caterpillar isn’t designed for domestic life?).
More generally however, plants and flowers have been proven to increase wellbeing and reduce stress levels. This is not a cunning ploy by ladies to increase their receipt of extravagant bunches of flowers (although it wouldn’t hurt, dear). I am referring more to our offices, our hospitals, our doctor’s surgeries and any other space in which we wile away our time in a public environment.
We’ve all visited waiting rooms, offices and shopping centres that exude about as much life and tranquillity as a paperclip. Plain, monochrome walls, stale air, and drab decoration- you know the set up. The fact is, if you’re already feeling a little gloomy then this kind of environment has no chance of cheering you up.
When a space has benefited from interior landscaping and a bit of aesthetic attention, however, it is instantly a much more enjoyable place to be. This ends up being extremely beneficial for the staff and customer, patient, or visitor.
Bringing the Outside Inside
Interior landscaping is a fantastic new phenomenon which is brightening up dull and dreary spaces across the UK. Even if the view outside the window is hardly Eden, by bringing plants and natural features inside you can create a tranquil space. Forget the token shrub tucked in the corner of an office, wilting in a pot of arid soil. Office plants can now be fun, different and dynamic. Think palms and bromeliads, orchids and yucca. It’s incredible what affects can be achieved in offices and waiting rooms without doing any painting or decorating whatsoever.
For the business savvy, this is a fantastic way of increasing the productivity of staff in an office environment, making patients feel more relaxed in doctors surgery, or encouraging shoppers in a retail environment to stay longer and spend more money. I’m not saying that waving a fern frond in front of someone will instantly make them pull out the credit card, create a masterpiece or make a miraculous recovery, but natural features will have a positive effect by encouraging wellbeing and relaxation. Research conducted by clever types in the worlds of psychology and botany has proved the link between plants and stress relief in a number of separate papers.
In the end, it’s best to look to your own experience for proof. I certainly prefer spaces that have at least some colour and living features. Shopping centres with natural light, fountains and foliage make me much more likely to stay. Doctor’s surgeries in which a little care has been taken to improve the environment increase my confidence that I will receive a high quality of care.
And, if you’re reading dear husband, as well as flowers and plants, chocolates are scientifically proven to increase wellbeing too; well we can hope can’t we?