The ancient Chinese art of “feng shui” (風水) has roots in science. At the very least, researchers have found psychological benefits for placing plants in office spaces, which are often advised by feng shui masters. More specifically, indoor plants have been shown to increase positive mood (Larsen et al., 1998), creativity (Shibata & Suzuki, 2002), and attention span (Raanaas et al., 2011). These findings support several existing theories.
Ulrich’s theory on psychophysiological stress-reduction posits that natural contents such as vegetation can evoke positive emotions, sustain non-vigilant attention, restrict negative thoughts, and reduce physiological arousal (Bringslimark et al., 2009). The attention restoration theory states that natural environments can have a restorative effect on attention and fight mental fatigue (Raanaas et al., 2011). And of course, we all know that plants act as natural humidifiers, which are rather needed during dry winter months.
So, have we convinced you to go buy a plant for your work station? ;)
Bringslimark, T., Hartig, T., & Patil, G.G. (2009). The psychological benefits of indoor plants: A critical review of the experimental literature. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 422-433.
Larsen, L., Adams, J., Deal, B., Kweon, B.S., & Tyler, E. (1998). The effects of plant density on productivity, attitudes, and perceptions. Environment and Behavior, 30, 261-281.
Raanaas, R.K., Evensen, K.H., Rich, D., Sjostrom, G., & Patil, G. (2011). Benefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in an office setting. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 31, 99-105.
Shibata, S. & Suzuki, N. (2002). Effects of the foliage plant on task performance and mood. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 22, 265-272.