8 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening
“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” – Alfred Austin
Gardens have been around for a very, very long time. If you go by the bible, the human race was created in a garden. Adam and Eve can be considered as the first-ever gardeners of the Garden of Eden.
The Benefits of gardening are undeniable. Waking up in the morning to a beautiful garden is truly a blessing. I have a very tiny garden set up on my balcony and that little space gives me immense joy.
Every time a flower blooms, my heart feels full. That’s something I helped grow with my bare hands. Do you too have similar feelings about your plant baby?
Not everyone enjoys gardening. But to have a garden in or around your living space can benefit you in many ways.
Let’s not beat around the bush (pun intended) and get to the point…
Mental Health Benefits of Gardening
1. Relieve Stress
Stress is one of the most common issues humankind has been dealing with over the years. Unfortunately, stress hasn’t spared our kids too. Gardening has been proven beneficial for mental health in many researches.
Gardening helps you get a break from your fast racing busy lives. It increases the level of serotonin making you healthier and happier throughout the day. Plants have different scents and different scents give you a different sense of calm.
Did you know according to a survey 80% of British people claimed to have had a positive impact on their mental health? In other such surveys benefits of gardens were ranked way higher than that of gyms.
2. Improves Mood
We often feel good when we are in and around nature. Plants always send those positive vibes towards us that instantly elevates our mood, isn’t it? Gardening makes you feel peaceful and content.
When you are deeply engrossed in gardening you do not pay attention to negative thoughts and that results in a better mood.
A study conducted in 2015 stated that people who received flowers reported a positive and happy mood for at least three days.
3. Instills Mindfulness
All tasks that are required to be done, like digging, pruning, etc. demand focus. When you are gardening you are living in the present. Living in the present and being aware of your actions at that very moment promotes mindfulness.
Experts have often connected gardening to a process of achieving mindfulness. Mindfulness has a long list of positive outcomes attached to it. Gardening helps you put aside all your worries.
4. Sense of Purpose
Sense of purpose is a very important benefit we get from gardening. Knowing that each action of yours is going to have a good or bad result, increases self-worth. Especially among the older generation gardening gives a strong sense of purpose.
What you are doing is important and you are not useless. This feeling helps you keep your mental health in place. Gardening has a lot of emotional benefits and a sense of purpose is one of them.
There is a sense of pride in choosing the plants and nurturing it. When the plant blossoms you feel like you did something that matters. Someone has rightly said, “Gardening gives life to you years and years to your life!”
5. Improves Memory
Gardening has beneficial effects on people suffering with dementia. Gardening improves memory as we age. Many people have now included gardening in their daily routine to improve memory and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Many countries have started green care programs that require elderly to spend some time in the gardens every day.
Researchers in Korea have found gardening to be the reason behind the growth in brain nerves that are associated with memory.
“Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.” – Allan Armitage
6. Strengthens Connections
Gardening can help us feel more connected to ourselves as well as nature. Growing your food at home, even if it is a tiny plant of cherry tomatoes helps you feel connected to your roots.
Food is the most important element that sustains life. Being able to do that every day gives a sense of fulfillment. Gardening also strengthens your connection with people around you. You can always have something in common to talk to.
Sharing your gardening experience and learning from others helps in making you more social. Strengthens your relationships with friends and family. You are being productive and this reflects in your behavior too.
7. Promotes Aacceptance
We are always in the need to have control over everything in life. Most of our issues root from our inability to accept things the way they are. The more we are aware of our limits and unpredictability of life, the better is our mental health.
Gardening helps us understand and accept that we can’t control nature. We have to give it time and space for it to blossom in its unique ways. Sometimes plants don’t grow according to our expectations no matter how skilled we are.
My younger dog always plucks Lily as soon as the flowers come. And my mother would never get angry at him.
Gardening helps you understand that you can only control things that are in your capacity and leave the rest in the rawest of forms.
8. Keeps You Physically Active
We all know that a healthy body means a healthy mind. Exercise benefits us in numerous ways. Gardening calls for a lot of physical activities. Digging, shoveling, Mowing the lawn, Weeding, Raking, moving sacks & pot all of these are physically draining chores.
The effects of physical exercise on your health are known to all. Daily exercise can free you of so many illnesses. Experts say that a minimum of 30 minutes in the garden can burn calories.
Good exercise results in good sleep and good sleep is very important for good mental health.
The benefits of gardening are therapeutic. Every minute that you spend in your garden, you’re receiving something or the other from it. Gardening doesn’t demand a huge investment. Your garden can be as tiny or as big as you want.
You can grow it in your balcony or put some pots on your window sill or you can even hang tiny pots. Your effort matters and not the size of your garden. My mother has a huge garden and I have a tiny one on my balcony and both of us feel the same kind of joy.
I hope this blog helped you understand the benefit of gardens on mental health. If you are already practicing gardening now you can understand why it feels so therapeutic. If you do not have one I would suggest you to buy just one plant and give it a try. I am sure that one pot will make you happy.
“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden”
– Ruth Stout
I would love to hear about your gardening stories, drop them in our comment section!
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Take care! Stay safe!