Growing Stress Free in the Office

Green space in your office can help you be less stressed.

Posted Jan 15, 2012

I wanted to say thanks to Brian Jenkins for sending this article to me. I appreciate hearing from others how stress might be managed and the following is one easy way to start to work on stress in the workplace. I'll be back with another article soon. Patrick.

Why Office Gardening is a Great Hobby For Busy Professionals

According to the "Attitudes in The American Workplace VI" Gallup poll, 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job and 25 percent have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress. It's no secret many busy professionals are members of this crowd. Meeting important deadlines, heavy workloads and trying to make the boss happy doesn't exactly make for a relaxing day at the office!

Dr. Cynthia Ambres, chief medical officer of Health Now New York, said "43 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer negative health effects due to chronic stress." She believes spending just half an hour every day on an active hobby, such as gardening, can really improve one's mental and physical health. So, for overworked professionals, tending a small office garden can be a major health benefit.

Stephanie S. Smith, a licensed clinical psychologist, who spends a large percentage of her time helping people manage their stress more effectively, told me "Gardening is a great source of stress relief. It can provide year 'round enjoyment and challenge, and can be adapted to many ability levels. It can also be low cost." She went on to say "Hobbies provide an important diversion from our everyday stressors whether they be from our jobs, families, health conditions etc."

Study after study has proven indoor plants are mood boosters. Dr. Jerry Williams, a horticulture professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, specializes in houseplant studies, he believes the type of green plant doesn't even matter - they all do the trick. Tina Marie Cade, Ph.D., an associate professor of horticulture at Texas State University believes our connection to plants goes way back. She stated "People evolved in natural settings, surrounded by trees and open space, which may explain why we're more comfortable when there's greenery around."

Taking care of plants gives busy professionals something relaxing to do when they just can't stare at a computer anymore. As an added bonus, indoor plants also remove harmful pollutants from the air.

Spider plants and rubber plants are some of the easiest houseplants to take care of. They require little sunlight, which is great for those tucked away in cubicles. Peace lilies, Chinese evergreens, snake plants, arrowhead vines, corn plants and pothos also thrive in low-light conditions.

Philodendron plants are easy to keep alive and are suitable for a wide range of indoor conditions. The adaptable braided ficus tree is another great choice for an office. The whimsical Chamaedorea palm, with its wispy leaves, brings the feel of the tropics to an office. With proper care, a ponytail palm can grace one's office for decades. The medium-sized tropical combo bonsai is an attention grabber with its foliage rising from an odd looking swollen trunk. It basically just needs water and moderate light to thrive.

Indoor plants do well with bright, indirect light. Fluorescent grow lights are commonly used for indoor plants. Some experts report LED grow lights provide all the light plants require without growth-stunting heat. Also, they use very little energy.

Office gardening is a fun, easy way for professionals and others to reduce stress and boost their moods. It's certainly much easier than other stress reducing activities such as running five miles every day!

Brian Jenkins writes about many different topics related to today's workplace for