07 Oct Supercharge Your Mental Health By Going Green!
When you hear Harley Quinn, you might also hear ‘mental illness’, ‘mental health, or ‘Poison Ivy’ (or all three at the same time). Yes, the iconic character created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm in Batman: The Animated Series has grown to a household name of mental health representation in the world of fictional media (that’s an understatement). One thing that makes Harley so likable is her mental health journey which leads her to grow as a better person, thanks to one of her catalysts for positive change, Poison Ivy. Mental health (issues) and nature, sounds like a poetic combination! Actually, it’s not just ‘poetic’, it also has a surprising bit of relevancy in real life.
The young psychiatrist, Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel fell in love with her worst patient, the Joker. Being the criminal mastermind he is, the Joker transformed Dr. Quinzel into his own villainous lover, Harley Quinn. Throughout the course of her domestic violence-filled relationship with the Joker (which she thought was true love), she suffered multiple mental disorders, with The New York Times listing multiple personality disorder, homicidal tendencies, and Stockholm syndrome as some of them. In the middle of all of her mental hijinks as a mentally unwell person, she found true friendship in the queen of green herself, the eco-terrorist Poison Ivy.
Yes, the pair isn’t a perfect duo, but being with Ivy heals something inside Harley. Harley managed to end things with the Joker, growing closer than ever with Poison Ivy even took the next step when they became romantic partners, leading Harley to a path of altruism, helping others once again instead of hurting them. Someone who’s mentally unhealthy found help and comfort in a plant-based, nature-powered person. That’s actually a cute roleplay of a real-life situation, where interaction between humans and nature is an effective antidote for humans’ mental health issues.
Let’s look at daily basics, like the fact that we deal with anxiety and stress whether we realize it or not. Interacting with plants in surprisingly simple ways such as touching and smelling them could actually ease up our stress and anxiety. How so? Studies published in the Journal of Health Psychology revealed that some plants, like Magnolia Tree and Lavender, produce scents that reduce humans’ cortisol levels, basically acting as automatic relaxers for humans around them.
Sometimes our anxiety and stress come from our desire of having the ideal well-being we can get. Mental health affects physical health, and vice versa. Pushing ourselves to start living a healthy lifestyle can be stressful and overwhelming, which is why sometimes humans need natural healers for their issues instead of keep trying to handle everything actively.
As basic as Basil sounds, Basil can actually help us on the physical side AND mental side. Basil’s abilities include impacting our blood pressure (positively, of course), decrease our stress level, and increase (or should I say guide) our mood in a more positive direction. All that thanks to Basil’s natural properties, some of them are antidepressant and antianxiety producers that have the same level of power as antidepressant drugs. Those parts of Basil are also effective in healing other problems we might have, such as sexual issues, sleeping troubles, and constant forgetfulness.
Speaking of forgetfulness, I have many friends who have trouble remembering specific things. We could say those things that they can’t remember are things that are too specific or too insignificant for them, or even if is not easy for them to remember specific things all the time, it’s okay because who can remember everything when every day is full of overwhelming things that we have to remember? Lucky for us, plants could help us pass our forgetfulness problem, even to the point of increasing our memorizing skills.
A study published by the University of Michigan states that being around plants can increase humans’ memory retention by up to 20%. Being around plants doesn’t just help you mentally, plants can help you remember things better and get a stronger focus on your activities since plants produce a calming effect for the human body.
So just like Harley who has Ivy, we humans have nature around us that we can rely on when we face issues. Enjoy the nature around us, because they are around to help us. Sounds cheesy, but what’s a good burger without cheese, right?