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8 Houseplants To Grow That Can Dramatically Improve Your Health

8 Houseplants To Grow That Can Dramatically Improve Your Health

Anyone who’s ever shopped around for houseplants would probably admit to prioritizing the way they look and what their maintenance requirements are before deciding on one to bring home. Those are obvious things to keep in mind, but there’s one more important aspect we sometimes tend to forget about when looking for an ideal houseplant: their health benefits.

Good health depends on more than just diet and exercise. Without a doubt your environment affects your health too, and the right houseplant can actually make a big difference in your mood, your stress level, your sleep quality and even your breathing.

A nice looking plant is great, but a nice looking plant that quietly works its magic in the background on your health as you go about your regular routine is even better. Here are eight houseplants that can help solve a few common health-related problems.

1. Spider Plant

    Spider plants are great for removing formaldehyde from the air in your home. This is the stuff that comes from all sorts of things you bring into your home including paper bags, waxed papers, facial tissues, paper towels, napkins, particle board, plywood panelling and synthetic fabrics. In addition to formaldehyde, snake plants target carbon monoxide and other toxic air impurities as well.

    If you have poor indoor air quality and not much of a green thumb, a spider plant may be exactly what you need. It’s one of the easiest plants to care for and can be kept in less sunny places in your home since it typically doesn’t like to be placed under direct sunlight.

    A spider plant can grow in any type of soil and only needs to be watered occasionally. If you can remember to water it often enough that its soil stays moist, then that’s all you really need to keep this plant alive and thriving.

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    2. Aloe Vera

      Chances are you’ve probably heard of or used commercially sold medicinal creams or ointments that say they contain aloe vera on their labels. Despite a lack of scientific evidence that aloe vera has any substantial healing properties, it’s been used for thousands of years as a common natural remedy to soothe irritated skin.

      The clear, gel-like substance found in the inner part of the leaf can be applied directly to the skin. According to WebMD, people typically use it to help treat burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis and cold sores. Make sure you speak to your doctor first in case you have any allergies.

      Aloe vera plants need to be deeply watered and their soil left to dry just slightly (about 1 to 2 inches deep) between watering. They do very well with lots of sun but can turn brown if they get too much of it, so keeping your aloe vera plant under indirect sunlight is best.

      3. Lavender

        Lavender is a flowering plant that has a very gentle and pleasant aroma. Best known for its stress-relieving mental benefits, the scent of lavender is often used in spa products like bath salts, skincare creams, soaps and candles.

        You can place a lavender plant anywhere in your home, but putting it in your bedroom is especially helpful since it may help you sleep better. Catching a whiff of lavender may help soothe restlessness, nervousness, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

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        Lavender plants prefer well-drained soil and lots of sunlight. They also need deep watering, but be careful not to water them very often. Aim to water your lavender plant when the soil is nearly dry.

        4. English Ivy

          Nobody ever wants to think about the possibility of mold thriving in their home. If you’re worried about it, bringing an English ivy plant into your home can help you rest easy since it’s well-known to purify up to 94 percent of airborne mold particles that can trigger allergies.

          Like the aloe vera plant, English ivy is another great plant to put in your bedroom. If you have asthma or difficulty breathing at night, it can help you breathe easier and get a restful night’s sleep.

          Be aware that English ivy is poisonous, so it should be kept well out of reach from children and pets. The plant thrives under fluorescent light but not direct sun, so it’s the perfect houseplant for darker than normal bedrooms with artificial light. Soil should be kept most at all times, but not soggy.

          5. Snake Plant

            Another great houseplant for the bedroom, the snake plant (also known as the “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue”) is among one of the most popular choices for improving indoor air quality. It actually gets most of its job done at night, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen as you sleep.

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            Snake plants also remove all sorts of toxins from the air including trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, toluene, benzene and xylene. To optimize its air purifying power throughout your entire home, you’ll likely need more than one plant. Plan to get anywhere from 6 to 8 snake plants that are of waist-high height for optimal air purification.

            Considered to be one of the easiest plants to care for, snake plants do great when placed under indirect sunlight. You really don’t have to water them much at all, and they’ll actually grow better if you let them dry out quite a bit between watering.

            6. Rosemary

              Rosemary is an herb that’s been used in folk medicine for centuries to help improve concentration and memory. It turns out that there may be some merit to this claim since a study conducted by Northumbria University found that people who were exposed to the scent of rosemary essential oil performed better on questionnaires compared to people who were exposed to no scent at all.

              The memory-boosting component of rosemary is thought to be caused by a compound called 1,8-cineole, which may cause increases in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Although you may be able to take advantage of a more potent scent by using rosemary essential oil with a diffuser in your home, it doesn’t hurt to keep a rosemary plant nearby in places like your home office or any other room where you could use a mental boost.

              Rosemary can be planted in a pot and put in any spot where it has access to bright sunlight. It should be watered evenly throughout the growing season, but will need less water in the winter. Avoid over-watering and remember to trim your rosemary plant after it flowers.

              7. Peace Lily

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                Peace lilies will really compliment your home decor in the summer when their beautiful white flowers are in full bloom, but that’s not all that they can do. This pretty and powerful houseplant is a master of air pollutant removal – working hard to absorb ammonia, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene throughout your home.

                Since this is a flowering houseplant, it will produce some pollen and a floral scent, which isn’t always suitable for people with plant and pollen-related allergies. With that in mind, peace lilies can make a gorgeous addition to any dining table, side table or entryway table.

                Peace lilies should be planted in a pot with all-purpose soil and kept slightly most throughout the entire year (without overwatering). They can thrive in both low and bright light, but do best in shaded areas.

                8. Boston Fern

                  If you live in a location where humidity tends to be a problem, the Boston fern may be the most ideal houseplant to bring into your home. Said to be a natural humidifier, Boston ferns are among the best air purifying plants that also combat formaldehyde, xylene and other unwanted toxins.

                  Place this type of fern in any air-conditioned room of your home. It may also indirectly benefit any dry skin you may suffer from, which can often be a side effect of highly air-conditioned indoor spaces.

                  Boston ferns are easy to grow and prefer indirect sunlight, but you should check the soil daily to make sure that it’s kept moist. They’re most efficient in rooms kept at a cool temperature with a humidity level of 50 to 80 percent.

                  Never discount the power of what a simple and innocent looking houseplant can do for your health. It’s worth doing some further research on the type of plant you choose and how to care for it if it means it will make a difference in how you feel.

                  Featured photo credits: Spider plant, aloe vera, lavender, English ivy, snake plant, rosemary, peace lily, Boston fern.

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                  Elise Moreau

                  Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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                  Last Updated on August 13, 2020

                  12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                  12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                  As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

                  1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

                  I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

                  Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

                  Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

                  2. What is the purpose of meditation?

                  The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

                  It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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                  Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

                  In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

                  You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

                  This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

                  The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

                  Less Physical, More Psychological

                  Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

                  This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

                  The First Benefit of Meditation

                  The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

                  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
                  2. Relaxation of the body

                  Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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                  Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

                  That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

                  When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

                  When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

                  Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

                  Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

                  This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

                  Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

                  Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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                  This benefit takes you to the second one.

                  The Second Benefit of Meditation

                  While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

                  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
                  2. Observance
                  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
                  4. Patience

                  Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

                  You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

                  This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

                  1. Energy

                  Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

                  2. Observance

                  The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

                  3. Peacefulness

                  Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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                  4. Patience

                  The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

                  The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

                  Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

                  Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

                  The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

                  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
                  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
                  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
                  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
                  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
                  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

                  These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

                  Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

                  Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

                  More on Meditation

                  Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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