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  • Daniel Pedley

I Bought a Plant.

How house plants have more in common with your mental health than you might think.

Meet Colin.

Some context.

Now I am hardly a botanist. Most of my free time is often spent exercising, eating, reading or listening to music in some way, shape or form, and the most experience I have with plants is often finding innovative or interesting ways to eat them. My family however have a background in gardening and all things plants, so after a considerable chat with my mother I decided to take on the simplest of tasks for the first time in my life: Buying and caring for a house plant. Aside from the benefits of having a plant in a room, including cleaner air and a more natural feeling atmosphere, after a short period of caring for Colin (named after a particular character from Love Actually's remark which bares a striking resemblance to my plant's leaves being significantly larger than the others) I soon realised that there are many parallels that can be seen between caring for a house plant and one's own mental health and wellbeing and thought it may be worth sharing.


The first of such parallels is the degree of awareness that it requires. If I were to spend all of my time thinking about my plant, chances are that I would somehow become engulfed with the idea that it is somehow infested with some awful disease, always drying up or becoming paranoid about having to constantly re-pot the bugger. On the flip-side, if I were to ignore it and pretend that it is entirely self-sufficient, then it would shrivel and die without my due care and attention. Your mental health is, in such circumstance exactly the same. You should always be aware of your own needs and things required to keep you happy and healthy, and indeed check in on yourself regularly to ensure that your various facets are covered, but if it becomes obsessive or something that obscures everything else in your life, you may not actually be able to focus on and enjoy the moment. In the same manner, neglecting to think about it at all will likely result in exactly the same damage that a house plant would incur in ignoring it too, so make sure you are still checking in on yourself.

Give it what it needs.

On an entirely basic level, plants are often easy to look after. Many of them only require a steady supply of water at varying intervals depending on the species you're working with. However, some plants, in fact almost all of them will at some stage benefit from re-potting, a change of soil or nutrients and a bit of plant feed from time to time. They need varying degrees of sunlight, temperature and can be temperamental little sods if you get any of these wrong. You are, in some form exactly the same. Since no two people need the same thing, bringing in your awareness to know what works for you is vital to help you give yourself what you need. Some people benefit from social time, others would rather tell the human race to bugger off for a while and spend some time alone. Some derive some benefit from different hobbies or activities to others, laughing or singing, exercise or lounging and so keeping track of your mental health isn't always enough to just keep you going. Instead, figure out what your needs are and much like a plant, make sure you meet those needs for yourself to continue to grow. Much like a plant needing re-potting, if you want to grow and make meaningful change to your life, you need to give yourself what you need to continue to develop.

Make sure to give yourself what you need regularly.

Don't be afraid to re-pot it when you need to.

This part I feel is fairly self-explanatory. Plants often outgrow their pots when they are in the right conditions, and if you are able to change your thought patterns or behaviours to give yourself what you need too then you might find yourself needing to make other changes in your life to progress, or even just noticing that you are happier or more confident. By keeping a plant in a smaller, less habitable pot, it's roots will never grow and it'll stay smaller. Now, this isn't always a bad thing, in the ancient art of bonsai, small can be seen as beautiful and in the same manner, if you feel happy and comfortable, and do not feel as though you wish to improve, then continue to nourish yourself as you are. However, in order to grow personally and if your mental health needs to flourish more, a change of outlook, environment or even just giving yourself more of what you need could be the ticket you are after. It can often be scary making larger changes, however it's important to go for it where you can so that you can truly become the best version of you.

Need a gardener?

In the same way that I needed a bit of guidance in starting to care for Colin, people often struggle with where to start with their mental health, outlooks or any other challenges they may face in life. That is exactly where myself or another therapist will come in handy. Should you find yourself stuck, incapable or growing or indeed in need of a change of approach, contacting myself at Piper Therapy Services may give you exactly what you need to help out. Whether you need to focus on your attitude, mental health, behaviours or indeed any other ongoing issues, here at Piper Therapy Services we provide plans for our clients that are as bespoke to you as possible to ensure that therapy sessions can be flexible, individualised and specific to you and you alone. With a client solution focus and a broad range of strategies, we aim to give you the most effective hypnotherapy sessions that we possibly can because after all, we work for you. Think that sounds useful? Contact us today and see what we can do for you.

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