Our Wellbeing Expert, Sam Sargent, provides simple tips to help drastically improve the quality of the air that you and your loved ones breathe at home.
With the change of seasons there is no better time to open your windows and doors, and step outside to enjoy what nature has to offer.
These days we spend more and more time inside, surrounded by stale air, computers and televisions that are all sources of hazardous positive ions that can rob us of our good senses and disposition, leading to bad moods, weakness and sleeplessness.
Create more negative ions
You may be wondering, “What are negative ions?”
Well, the air is electrically charged, which means it contains proportions of positively charged molecules (positive ions) and negatively charged molecules (negative ions). Negative ions are found in places like the beach, the mountains, in the countryside and near waterfalls.
“Generally speaking, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy,” says Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owner’s Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind-Brain Research. “They also may protect against germs in the air, resulting in decreased irritation due to inhaling various particles that make you sneeze, cough, or have a throat infection.”
Negative ions are also thought to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical, serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.
The proportion of negative ions is highest around moving water, such as storms, oceans, rivers, and waterfalls. One of my favourite things to do is to go for a walk on the beach, and if I’m feeling frustrated, angry or stressed a swim in the ocean always washes away those feelings leaving me refreshed and uplifted. No wonder!
On the flip side, most indoor environments, as well as being high in positive ions, also contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene found in carpets, furniture, paints, plastics, varnishes, adhesives, detergents, dyes and fire retardants. They are known to irritate the eyes, nose and throat, cause headaches and allergic dermatitis, psychological disturbances, and considered to be carcinogens.
Your home requires ventilation to reduce the indoor pollutants, moisture and odours. For a healthy home environment, the air needs to be moving, and it’s as simple as opening the windows and doors each day to invite fresh air in.
Invest in plants
To improve your indoor air quality even more, head to your local plant nursery. Did you know there are several varieties of indoor plants that absorb harmful chemicals and improve the air quality of your home?
Researchers have identified several varieties of house plants that are remarkably effective in removing these chemical pollutants from the air, such as the philodendron, spider plant, chrysanthemum and peace lily. I personally love all sorts of plants and have a variety in my home. However, it’s best to talk to a person at your local plant nursery or a gardener about the best plants to suit your personal living space, especially if you have pets as some plants are potentially harmful if your pet eats the leaves.
The other wonderful benefit is that all plants produce oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. Therefore, any plants you choose, in addition to the varieties I have just named, will increase the concentration of oxygen in their immediate surroundings.
So, starting from today, gift yourself and loved ones fresh air by opening your windows to let the breeze cleanse your home environment, and make it a date to head to your local nursery.