Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Houseplants as decoration is a huge trend right now and getting out in nature has always been 'in' but does all the greenery actually make you more relaxed? In short, yes!
Many studies have shown that people who live near more green spaces also have less stress. One study in particular found that people living in a neighborhood with more green spaces had lower stress levels than a very similar neighborhood with less green space. The researchers measured cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in both groups and found it was lower in people near more green space.
How do houseplants factor in? Well, if you don't have green spaces in your neighborhood you can create some inside your own space!
Another research study found that interacting with a houseplant, in this case it was transplanting it, the participants experienced positive feelings (aka less stress) when compared with 15 minutes of computer work. So even if you don't have green space outside or close by you can create your own by purchasing a few small houseplants and spending some time each day tending to them.
If you are new to houseplants try going to your local nursery or hardware store and asking about what plants will fit your lifestyle and space best! If you have pets be sure to double check the plants you choose are pet safe, or place them where your pet can't reach. If you are on a tight budget there are tons of affordable options for plants like buying very young ones that you can watch grow for years.
Check out the research I mentioned for yourself:
Roe, Jenny J et al. “Green space and stress: evidence from cortisol measures in deprived urban communities.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 10,9 4086-103. 2 Sep. 2013, doi:10.3390/ijerph10094086
Lee, Min-Sun et al. “Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study.” Journal of physiological anthropology vol. 34,1 21. 28 Apr. 2015, doi:10.1186/s40101-015-0060-8