Aside from being nice to look at and improving air quality, studies show that indoor plants have been linked to a reduction in stress, fatigue and illness. Communities with green spaces have less crime, plant-filled classrooms help kids pay more attention, and cut flowers can inspire creativity in adults. So here's how you can reap the benefits of greenery in your own environment:

  • In your kitchen, grow some rosemary. It may cut down on your coffee addiction. In a British study, the aroma of rosemary improved alertness. The herb also adds flavor to chicken or fish, aids digestion, and boosts immunity. To keep the plant thriving, make sure it gets plenty of sun, mist the leaves every few days, and keep the soil moist.
  • In your bedroom, grow some lavender. Several studies show that lavender is a natural sleep aid. Research from the University of Southampton found that people with mild insomnia got more shut-eye in a room filled with the scent. To grow your own, plant seeds by a south facing window, keep it cool, and water sparingly.
  • In a home office or study space, try blooming plants like azaleas or cyclamen, which can be grown in small pots. Texas A&M researchers found that people who kept a vase of colorful, blooming flowers on their desks, generated more creative ideas. And in a separate study of typists, those with flowering plants nearby were less stressed and more productive. They key is to have a flowering plant because you need some greenery to get the maximum benefit. So to review: Rosemary in the kitchen to boost alertness, lavender in the bedroom to improve sleep, and azaleas in the study to increase creativity and reduce stress.