The mental health benefits of nature are well recorded. Here are some tips from a Horticulturist on how to use the power of plants to boost your wellbeing during the busy and sometimes stressful Christmas season.
Senior horticulturalist Bryn Hutchinson at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney specialises in the connection between plants and mental health and recommends “green bathing” for those who need respite from festive-season stress.
“To relieve the pressures of never-ending festive social events and the Christmas-present buying spree, take time out and relax among plants - both with individual plants and in gardens,” Bryn said.
“Have you noticed how large green spaces, such as your local park or the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney can have hundreds of people walking through them, yet you still feel relaxed and in a place of serenity?
“Collections of trees and plants create this relaxed feeling so do some ‘green bathing’ this Christmas,” said Bryn.
Research reveals healing power of plants
Research published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture has revealed spending time in both natural settings and cultivated gardens can improve mood and reduce the negative effects of stress, facts Bryn knows only too well.
Before Bryn developed a passion about the power of plants, he began his career as a social worker with a focus on people and their different challenges. In 2013 he completed his Masters at the University of Sydney on the cultural impacts of human and plant co-evolution.
“So, if Christmas is becoming too much, go for a stroll in your local park or green space and purposefully observe the trees and other plants.
“Considering their form, shape, colour, smell and sound – I personally love the sound of a summer breeze swooshing through a Casuarina tree.
“Notice how other animals and insects are interacting with the plants and each other. Purposeful engagement with nature is a proven stress relief,” said Bryn.