About 27 percent of participants in the study felt less stressed with a plant nearby.

By Nashia Baker
January 13, 2020

If keeping fresh plants in your home puts you at ease, it may be time to add one to your office space to limit stress. According to a new study published in the HortTechnology journal, workers who took a three-minute "nature break" by looking at their desk plant experienced "soft fascination" as they took a mental break from their duties. In a statement to Today, Masahiro Toyoda, the lead researcher for the study and a horticultural therapist and associate professor at the University of Hyogo, shared that people have a natural connection to nature. "We know the scene of beautiful nature or plants calms stress," he said.

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Adding an element of nature might help us take a necessary step away from our daily tasks, according to the head researcher. "It is important to be away from work even for a short period of time and to look at things which are not associated with work and are likely to cause pleasant, comfortable feelings. That was exactly the plants' (role)," Toyoda stated.

Related: How to Quickly Defuse an Anxiety Attack

To see if workers had less stress with a plant in their office, the researchers assessed 63 employees at a Japanese company that filled out a State-Trait Anxiety Inventory test. Additionally, the researchers measured the participants' pulse rates twice each day to assess their stress levels. After a four-week period, the researchers found that approximately 27 percent of employees had a lower pulse rate and decreased levels of anxiety.

Toyoda keeps his own research at the top of his mind: He finds plant viewing to be a refreshing part of the workday. "I often find myself gazing at my favorite plant for more than three minutes unconsciously," he said. "Such a break refreshes and invigorates me in my office."

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