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Happiness Starts With A Secret Garden

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Happiness Starts With A Secret Garden
Article submitted by Sunnycrest Senior Living

Plants equal happiness. Study after study shows that the presence of plants produces positive emotions and improves focus. People around plants are more upbeat, have more creative states of mind, and have lower blood pressure. The presence of plants in the workplace increases productivity and reduces sick days. Research shows that 40 percent of all sick days are related to poor indoor air quality. Simply put, we take in oxygen, and give off carbon dioxide. Plants take in carbon dioxide, and give off oxygen. It's a match made in heaven.

But can this really be true? Can the enchanting world of horticulture really be the fastest and easiest ticket to happiness? In a word, yes. Plants give us what we need, but not only on the lung level. Plants stimulate the senses. We visually appreciate the aesthetic beauty from how they look and we also enjoy their scents. But it is more than that. The experience of nature, the seeing and touching and observing of plants seems to have a positive impact on functional and cognitive abilities.

Nowhere is this more clear than with older people. Studies indicate time and time again that plants promote psychological and social well-being of older people. Just having visual exposure to plants is reported to create positive emotions and calm down restless minds, enhancing emotional well-being.

But even better is the impact that plants have when seniors engage in actual gardening. Caring for plants provides seniors with reciprocal relationships with both plants and other people. Emotions, memories, thoughts, and conclusions associated with plants and gardening resulted in enhanced emotional, cognitive, and social well-being in elderly living in long-term care. Gardening also enables the senior to engage in various roles according to their own will and capabilities supporting their identity and autonomy.

I have seen this first hand at Sunnycrest Senior Living in Fullerton, CA. As the owner I am always looking for new ways to promote the health and happiness of my residents. So I recently created "The Secret Garden." Located on the Western side of our property directly adjacent to the beautiful horse trail, our residents now garden in the fresh air and with their hands in the soil. The residents appear cheerful and happy. I have heard of enhanced quality of sleep, increased ability to concentrate, and more peace of mind.

Whether you desire to improve your life by having stress relief or wish to improve job performance, or want to "go green" and save the planet, all roads lead to the Garden. Maybe Adam and Eve had it right all along.

Citations and studies:

  • "The influence of a green environment and horticulture activities on the subject well-being of the elderly living in long-term care. University of Helsinki 2005.
  • Talbot and Kaplan 1991.
  • Browne 1992
  • Stoneham and Jones 1997
  • Carmen 2002
  • Grahn and Stigsdotter 2003
  • Brascamp and Kidd 2004

No unauthorized duplication without written consent.

 

 

   

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