Keeping a plant on your desk could help reduce workplace stress

Keeping a plant on your desk could help reduce workplace stress

PanARMENIAN.Net - Having a hard day at work? Stressed out about deadlines or bosses or meetings? It may help to stare a plant, according to researchers from Japan.

The researchers felt that a lot of employees underestimated the respite that plants offer from work-related stress, so they conducted an experiment on workers at an electric company in Japan and observed their changes in stress levels pre- and post-involvement with plants.

The findings, recently published in the HortTechnology journal, showed that the number of employees with high scores on an anxiety measurement test decreased their scores slightly. Another 27% of employees in the study showed a significant decrease in resting heart rate, CNN reports.

Many studies have been done on the health effects of indoor plants, but most of those were performed in either laboratories or quasi-office settings and only included passive interaction.

This study verified the stress-reducing effect of gazing intentionally at a plant for a few minutes and actively engaging in the care of it in a real office setting when an employee felt fatigued.

The results suggest that if employers provided active encouragement for workers to take three minute "nature breaks," the mental health of their employees would improve, said Dr. Masahiro Toyoda, lead author of the study and professor at the University of Hyogo, where he specializes in horticultural therapy.

The study is the "latest of those that continue to point out that plants are beneficial to humans," said Dr. Charles Hall, Ellison Chair of International Floriculture at Texas A&M University.

"It's something we inherently knew, but has suddenly been quantified. And so now, we're seeing the numbers behind the reasoning," he said.

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