The community engagement of Very Sad Lab centers around the convergence of humanity and horticulture, where rehabilitation can be facilitated in both.
Horticultural therapy, the concept of utilizing plants and outdoor environments as therapeutic mediums, has a rich history dating back to ancient civilizations. As early as 2000 BC, ancient Egyptians documented using walks through the garden as a therapeutic tool.
Modern research suggests visible greenery is restorative, and that spending even 5 to 10 minutes in the same room with houseplants can make us measurably happier and healthier. A study by Texas A&M revealed that spending time in natural outdoor settings can even enhance memory function and concentration levels by up to twenty percent. Further studies have found that even looking at photos of plants can positively impact stress levels, particularly purple and green plants, which have shown to be effective at reducing negative feelings.
“Houseplants can give us a little bit of predictability when things are uncertain,” says Gary L. Altman, associate director of the horticultural therapy program at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. “There’s an evolutionary response when you see green, it’s almost like you created yourself a sanctuary.”