20 Aug Gardening and Mental Health
Most people experience a certain amount of stress in their everyday life, and this can lead to mental health issues in the long term. There is a growing amount of evidence suggesting that gardening can help in stress management and in managing mental health problems related to loneliness and isolation, so it is worth considering getting into planting. In this article, we discuss some of the main reasons you should take up gardening as your new hobby – and how a couple of potted plants can improve your life.
If you can start a garden outside (be it a balcony or a backyard), it already will have several positive effects on you. Fresh air makes you feel more energized and helps boost your mood, thanks to the elevated blood oxygen levels. Sunshine also has a great effect on you, strengthening your immune system and bones – so make sure to soak up the sun while you’re out, as you benefit from it just as much as your plants!
Gardening may not seem very demanding in terms of physical exercise; however, it does a great job in keeping you fit if done regularly. In fact, according to CDC, gardening officially qualifies as exercise and 30-45 minutes of it can burn up to 300 calories. Exercise of any sort has great mental health benefits: it produces serotonin and dopamine, helps ease symptoms of anxiety, and creates a positive body image.
Being in the green
Studies have shown how increased exposure to green landscapes can lead to elevated mood and feeling more relaxed. If you have a garden, you will spend more time looking at greenery, since there is plenty of work to be done outside. Being surrounded by plants can lead to feeling more balanced and happier, even during stressful periods in life.
Plants take time to grow – and you need to be patient with them. We often forget how to be patient; because our busy schedules don’t allow us to stop for a minute and appreciate the beauty of growth. When you are waiting for your plants to reach their mature form, you are learning patience and acceptance, which can help you feel more balanced in your everyday life.
Feelings of achievement
When you’re struggling with your mental health, you may feel lost and hopeless, and gardening can help with that. Nurturing a plant and watching it grow and thrive in your care can help give you purpose, as well as motivation to wake up every day and take care of your garden.
Over time, this can have a therapeutic effect and alleviate symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses. Because of this, some charities offer therapeutic horticulture, where people can build social connections and participate in activities led by licensed therapists – all through gardening.
Mindfulness is a key practice in meditation, and it is proven to be very useful in helping people overcome issues like trauma, addiction, anxiety, and depression. Gardening is the perfect way to practice mindfulness, as it allows you to be present in the moment and focus on the task at hand while connecting with nature. Your garden can become a meditation haven, where you will be able to observe your surrounding and inner thoughts without any interruptions.
Of course, it’s not only the process of gardening that has its undeniable benefits. Reaping the fruit of your hard work is extremely satisfying, and homegrown fruits and vegetables are the healthiest of all. Organic food can be expensive, and supermarket alternatives just don’t carry the same nutrients as homegrown plants.
Eating healthy foods packed with vitamins and minerals makes your mind sharper and your mood more positive – so you have every reason to pick up some gloves and start gardening!
Timi is a content creator, and she likes to maintain a healthy lifestyle, therefore she teamed up with BuyRope to put together this piece of content to show you the benefits of gardening on mental health.