There’s a reason rehab facilities take residents out of their daily routines and into a completely new environment. When it comes to behavioural change, switching up your surroundings can be a powerful tool.
A holiday can help us look at our lives anew and question ways of being that we’ve taken for granted. Changing jobs can remove triggers that were inspiring particular actions. And moving house can provide the shift we need to start committing to that running routine we’ve been trying to implement.
Now, with lockdown predicted to last until March, it’s unlikely that any of us will be going somewhere ‘new’ for a while. And with the anniversary of the first coronavirus restrictions on the horizon, many will be grimly going about their homes with a sense of being stuck, both mentally and physically.
That’s why we’re encouraging our followers to give their homes a natural makeover this new year. If this sounds like a ploy, hear us out because we believe what we’re preaching, and so do accredited psychologists!
As well as showing that plants help improve mood and overall wellbeing, studies show that when there are plants in our environment, our attitude at work improves (Larsen et al., 1998), our bodies relax (Park et al., 2016) and we are more likely to complete tasks (Lohr et al., 1998).
Research even suggests that ‘leafy’ plants, like Monsteras or Anthuriums, can help boost our creativity (Shibata and Suzuki, 2002).
Certainly, this is not the New Year to make drastic, punishing changes. At a time when restrictions are being imposed on us from exterior forces, imposing cruel restrictions on oneself might not be the tonic you need.
But the New Year wave isn’t just about self-flagellation: it’s about hope. Good resolutions are about wanting the best for ourselves, and wanting to be better for those around us.
A good resolution could be based on something concrete (like making a ritual of working out, banning screens at mealtimes, keeping a journal) or something more abstract like being more patient or keeping an open mind.
The point is, if you’re trying to make a change, give yourself the best chance of doing so by creating an environment where you’ll thrive!