Gardening really can be great for your mental health. Anyone can do it, whether you have a garden or not. Learn the benefits here!
The notion that gardening is good for the mind and soul is not new or unheard of.
For example, in Japan they have several zen gardens especially designed to bring calm to people and thus heal their mind, body and soul. This belief is now shared by the rest of the world and gardening is seen as an activity with a positive effect on overall well-being.
The very process of planting and watering can take your mind off the worries of the day and bring peace into your life.
If you’re still unconvinced, here are some facts about gardening that might change your mind.
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Being outside is good for health
Going outdoors and getting a breath of fresh air is good for the body and mind. Outdoor gardening is specially advised to the elderly or those who don’t spend time in nature or in the country at all.
Many studies have shown the connection between gardening and preserving mental health. This is particularly important for patients suffering from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some studies have also shown that gardening may bring back pleasant memories for these patients from an earlier period in their life.
Keeps the stress at bay
There are numerous non-profit organizations that study and promote horticultural therapy. This type of therapy calms the nerves, restores a sense of control and takes the mind off the stressors.
Horticultural sessions are held by trained horticultural therapists and have treatment goals with defined outcomes and assessment processes.
You can grow your own vegetables and fruits
Probably the most rewarding benefit of gardening is growing your own vegetables and fruits. You might not be able to grow some plants due to the growing process, climate, specific requirements and size of your garden, but there are some you can and pretty easily actually.
Try cherry tomatoes, chili peppers, lettuce, small fruit trees, and spring onions. These are relatively easy and don’t require much space or expertise. Just make sure you have a water hose at the ready and your gardening gloves, because these plants will become your new hobby soon enough.
Possibilities are limitless
Even if you don’t have a house with a yard in which to start your garden, you can still do some gardening. Although it’s not the same, the benefits are not any less important or negligible. Designate a space where you can garden, preferably outside.
You can do it in front of your building, on the porch or balcony. This kind of gardening can also be creative, so you can choose colourful pots or make your own, like a DIY side project. Soon enough you’ll feel those calming effects and satisfaction of creating new life.
Natural landscapes take away the pain
A Dutch study has shown that natural landscapes can provide a beneficial distraction from daily problems and stressors.
Just by looking at natural beauty and being surrounded by it, people can feel safe and invigorated. The same study also showed that people in the Netherlands gardened just as much during the winter as in spring or summer, since it helped them overcome depression in the cold and less green months.
Gardening is the best anti-depressant
It might be impossible to comprehend but there is such a thing as anti-depressant microbes. Studies have shown that soil microbes have similar effects on the brain like Prozac, only chemical dependency is not one of them.
Mycobacterium vaccae is a non-pathogenic bacterium which populates the soil. It has been found to boost a neurotransmitter whose deficiency is linked to depression.
By digging the soil and spending a portion of time exposed to the dirt in your garden you’ll be giving yourself a healthy dose of happiness and chasing away depression.
Grow your own spices
You’ve probably envied chefs on cooking shows for having all the herbs they need right there beside them growing in about anything from chipped cups to old buckets.
Well, you can do it too. Herbs are not that hard to grow, but will also require nurturing and attention. They also bring that sense of accomplishment when you use them for home-cooked meals or drinks.
Also, the smell of fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, and lavender will give you natural aromatherapy in your home.
Boost your confidence
Maybe most of you just refused to garden because you thought it was hard or some terrible obligation you would take on. But actually, you are the one to set the rules and expectations.
The best advice is to start small and then grow bigger. Seeing what you’ve achieved, you’ll feel proud and more self-confident. So if you lack self-esteem this might be the perfect way for you to start regaining it. And soon enough you’ll be showing off your garden and handing seedlings to those inspired to join you in the gardening adventure.
No age limit
There’s nothing better for the soul than sharing the things you enjoy and love with the people close to you. Gardening is not only rewarding that way but also doesn’t have boundaries regarding age, race and gender.
This is something everyone can enjoy in like a joint activity for families and friends. Gardening is good for building character and responsibility in children, as well as bringing back a sense of worth and significance to the elderly. This can be a common hobby for you and your partner, or a fun activity with your parents.
Revive your space with colours and smells
The smell of spring, colours of summer, rustling of the leaves in autumn and greenery in the winter – those are all the scenes you will experience with your own garden. Picking fresh flowers to decorate your home is more than an aesthetic element, it’s an acknowledgement of your dedication and patience.
Flowers in the vase are the end of a cycle which you helped start and maintain through nurturing, giving it your time and love, and in the end you were rewarded with beautiful colour and enchanting smells.
Nothing can give you self-worth better than being able to start and finish something flawlessly.
Happy or sad, agoraphobic or hungry for attention, young or old – it doesn’t matter when it comes to gardening. Plants don’t see you, but they feel what’s in your heart.
Allow them to show you the new version of you, one that is liberated from troubles and not afraid to love. Nurture them and in return they will give you back yourself.
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This was a guest post written by the lovely Helen.
Helen Bradford is a student who enjoys writing about health, interior and exterior design. She spends her spare time doing fitness and traveling.