There's honestly just something about plants.
According to a lot of studies, plants actually have an extremely positive effect on people's lives and health, both physiologically and psychologically. Physiologically, plants have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve reaction times, and better general well-being. Psychologically, keeping plants has been correlated with improved concentration and attentiveness, as well as reduced stress. All in all, taking care of plants is a really good thing for your health (physically and mentally) and your productivity because of that.
Now, my story. Yes, this is going to be an article about convincing you to get a plant, but keep on reading a little bit longer.
Without sharing any details, it is safe to say that I've had a pretty rough month. I'm a person under the belief that everyone, no matter what, is most likely going through something, whether that something is completely terrible or a bit of an annoyance. And with that, maybe we should all tread carefully when regarding each other or treat everything with even a small slice of sensitivity.
But beyond that, I'm a person of the belief of helping yourself so that it doesn't have to get to that point.
After a pretty terrible few weeks, it was that exact thought process that led me to Tiberius: my small, adorable basil plant. Yes, I named him. And yes, he's a he.
I've noticed that when things get bad, it's easy to get into a certain train of thought of "everything is getting worse." It's a vicious cycle of finding even the smallest of annoyances to be signs of everything being horrible-- and then suddenly everything is horrible, but most of it is in your mind. In the end, it's not really about the bad stuff that happens to you; it's about how you decide to react to it.
My university's church was having a small event: painting miniature plant pots and then planting a basil seed. On a whim during a particularly upsetting day, I went. I got a baby seed in a baby pot, and a whole lot of dirt, and I went back to my dorm.
I left Tiberius (which I had named him on the walk back to my dorm) on my window ledge where he got lots of sunshine, I watered him every morning as part of my daily routine.
In today's age of movement and stress, Tiberius became a constant. He turned into something I could actively care about and create. He sprouted a week before he was supposed to and, for the first time in months, I felt rejuvenated. Watching him grow is something I can look forward to, taking care of something that wasn't myself gave me a certain responsibility that wasn't weighing, but instead lightening-- it gave me a distraction. Tiberius gave me life.
This sounds ridiculous, I know. But there's something about watering dirt every day for a week and a half and then just seeing that tiny brush of green. Finally. There's something about watching it grow, there's something about that accountability for another life that grounds you.
If you're going through a hard time, I suggest getting a plant. It's a distraction, but more than that, it's a concentration. And in times of struggle, concentration can be hard to find.