Houseplants: Your Key to a Stress-Free Home

HouseplanHouse plants for a stress-free homets are not merely a pretty addition to your home; they can promote good health and stress reduction. As you’ll see, there is much more to these humble, lovely plants than meets the eye.

Breathe easier and reduce stress.

We all know that plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, but did you know that more oxygen in the air you breathe reduces your stress levels? When you have more oxygen flowing through your body, you feel better and have more energy.

Plants also release water into the air and increase the humidity in the room. If you have respiratory issues, that extra moisture helps you breathe easier and reduces stress on your lungs. Eucalyptus is a natural decongestant and can help your breathing.

Enjoy pure air.

Houseplants remove toxic chemicals from the air, including VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are commonly found in furniture, paint, and carpet. Newer homes and office buildings are more airtight than older buildings are, so these toxins become trapped. The more plants, the healthier the air, which in turn reduces stress on your body because it’s not working overtime to remove pollutants from your lungs and bloodstream.

The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture found that office plants reduced illness and fatigue. A study by the Agricultural University of Norway noted that rates of illness were 60 percent lower in plant-filled offices. Not only do plants add humidity to the environment, but they also reduce dust and other airborne particles that can irritate the respiratory tract.

Recover faster.

Patients with plants in their hospital rooms recovered from surgery faster than those who did not, according to a study at Kansas State University. The patients with plants used less medication and had lower blood pressure, meaning they experienced less stress. Their hospital stays were also shorter.

If you’re considering adding plants to your home, you’ll want to decide which plants will serve your purposes. If you wish to purify the air, try a spider plant, snake plant, or philodendron. Boston ferns and bamboo palms humidify the air, and a gerbera daisy or orchid will add oxygen to the air.

You might be asking how many house or office plants you need. It depends on what you want to accomplish. A good rule of thumb is one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) or two smaller plants (4-inch diameter pot) per 100 square feet.

What do you use plants for in your home?

Five Irresistible Books for Your Summer Beach Bag

What better way to soak up a little sun than with a riveting new read? At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we’ve pooled together a list of hot summer books for you to enjoy at your favorite Charleston beach!

1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed: One of the hottest memoirs to hit the shelves, Strayed’s story is a heartening and harrowing one. After losing her mother to cancer, reeling from the ruin of her marriage, and recovering from drug addiction, Strayed made a life-changing decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail solo in the hopes of salvaging her life and herself. If you need more convincing, Oprah selected this memoir to kick-off Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.

2. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James: If you’ve yet to dive into the naughty world of Grey, we recommend you start at the very beginning, where Ana Steele and Christian Grey first fell headlong into their steamy, erotically dark affair. This book is sure to fuel your appetite for the other two novels in this trilogy: Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

3. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty: A story of tangled trajectories, this novel tracks the journey of fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks before she became the silent-film icon, and her thirty-six year old chaperone Cora Carlisle. Set in the roaring 1920’s, this novel is rich both in its cultural depiction, and in its exploration of each character’s destiny during this era of possibility.

4. The Odditorium by Melissa Pritchard: This short-story collection is the imaginative transport your summer’s been missing. Weirdly enchanting, beautifully haunting, Pritchard bends the conventions of westerns, horror, and historical fiction to create a menagerie of pure enthrallment. Good luck putting this one down!

5. We Only Know So Much by Elizabeth Crane: With whimsy, wit, and unrelenting insight, Crane reveals the story of the Copelands, a family torn and entwined by the secrets they keep and the lives they lead. Sharp and voice-driven, this novel will make you laugh and cringe, but most of all, you’ll simply be happy to be reading it.

What books are on your reading list this summer?



4 Unexpected Places to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life

News and entertainment outlets have bombarded us with reports about the benefits of happiness, which include better mental and physical health, longer life, and more fulfilling relationships. So how can you bring a little more joy into your everyday experience? Try some of these strategies, custom designed for busy people in a fast-paced world.

1. Send a snail-mail card.

We’ve all heard the saying that it’s better to give than to receive. That’s because doing something kind for another person (even if it’s only something very small) brings that person happiness—and we’re hardwired to enjoy that feeling. Depending on your recipient, you might send a care package, a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, a hand-written letter, a card, or a meaningful photograph. A five-minute project on your end could bring a day’s worth of happiness (or more!) to the person checking his or her mailbox.

2. Dance to your favorite song.

Even people with insanely busy schedules should have time for a three- to five-minute dance break. The benefits are worth the time: music triggers strong emotional responses, and the endorphins you’ll get from even a short bout of energetic dancing will help recharge a failing battery. For an even bigger bliss boost, enlist a friend to help you bust your move.

3. Let yourself enjoy your food.

Hectic schedules often dictate that we bolt meals while sitting in front of a screen or driving from one event to the next. Even if you have to multi-task during lunch, take a few seconds to experience and enjoy the flavors in your mouth. Studies show that actively practicing gratitude is a great way to boost happiness. As a bonus, slowing down while you eat is an effective way to prevent overeating and associated weight gain.

4. Breathe deeply in a stressful situation.

There’s nothing like a traffic jam or a backup at the grocery store checkout to raise your stress level and zap your happiness. But experts say that we can actually choose how such roadblocks affect us. Next time you’re in a less-than-ideal situation, use the down time to focus on breathing deeply, pulling air into your stomach and exhaling slowly. This strategy helps us relax physically and reminds us that we control our worlds—a big component toward achieving happiness.


We’ve all found tricks for bringing more smiles into our chaotic lives—what are your favorite tips for hanging on to the grin-worthy moments in your life? Feel free to share below!




5 Reasons to Drink Tea Daily

tea benefitsSince that incident in Boston all those years ago, Americans have largely shunned tea in favor of coffee. But now that most of us aren’t holding any grudges about King George’s taxation system, it might be time to start reintroducing the drink to your daily routine.

Here are five excellent reasons to swap out your morning java for a cup of tea.

1. Tea has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and other serious diseases. While researchers are still debating the exact impact tea has on cancer, studies have shown that rates of lung, prostate, and breast cancer decreased most significantly in tea-drinking populations. In addition, tea helps guard against heart disease, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and reduce cholesterol. Credit the beverage’s polyphenals with many of these disease-fighting capabilities.

2. Tea keeps you healthy in the long term. The antioxidants in tea have been shown to help protect skin against damage from the sun and from aging. These powerful compounds have also been shown to reduce acne as much as the harsh topical treatment benzoyl peroxide. One more boon of regular tea drinking? Tea drinkers have been shown to have stronger bones than their “tea-totaling” peers. Some researchers suggest that the phytochemicals found in tea can take the credit for this benefit.

3. Tea makes you look better. A natural source of both tannins and fluoride, tea helps protect teeth from decay (as long as you drink it sans sugar!). Even better? Drinking five or more cups of green tea daily boosts your metabolism slightly, which may aid in weight loss. If you’re happy with the way you look, drink tea for its stress-reduction properties, which will help you feel great, too.

4. Tea has no calories. Hot or cold, tea is a calorie-free way to refresh yourself. To make sure you aren’t consuming unwanted sugars, brew your own iced tea rather than using sweetener-laden powders.

5.Tea keeps you alert (without feeling jittery). Because tea has less caffeine than coffee, it imparts a feeling of mental alertness without causing the jitters. In the long term, tea has been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, thus contributing to better brain function over time.

Even if you’re a diehard coffee guzzler, a cup of herbal tea in the evening or a mug or two of tea instead of your afternoon fix could help you enjoy the health-boosting, disease-busting benefits of this wonder drink!