WHY GARDENING CAN DO WONDERS FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
There are many different elements that come into play when considering gardening as a promoter of good health, both mental and physical. Gardening combines physical movement with experiencing nature and the benefits are wonderful. It’s something to keep in mind, particularly during the darker days of winter, when we tend to move less and stay indoors. Gardening might just be the perfect way to boost your mood, health and wellbeing.
Move your body
Gardening means moving your body and the benefits of exercise are huge. Moving your body more reduces your risk of illness, gives you more energy overall improves your health overall. It also makes you feel great by releasing endorphins and stimulating feelings of relaxation and happiness.
The positive feelings derived from exercise has also been shown to boost confidence and improve self-esteem, which means it can help lower anxiety and stress levels too. Gardening may be low impact exercise but it’s often an activity that can last for a couple of hours and that’s a couple of hours of you moving your body, often without even realising it.
Not only does the act of gardening get you moving for a prolonged period of time, but research has shown that spending time in nature helps to reduce anxiety and stress. It allows us space to recuperate and revitalise mentally.
So, spending time in nature coupled with exercise, means double the benefits. For those without a backyard, introducing indoor plants or a herb garden to your home is a great way to bring the outdoors in.
Community gardens are also a wonderful way to come together and reap the benefits. You can search online for a local community garden near you. This way you’re able to form new relationships and build social networks around your interests too.
Provides a sense of connection
Gardening offers a sense of connection with the world around us. By spending time nurturing and caring for living things, we are contributing to something important. It reminds us to be present with our lives and with those around us.
The act of mindfulness has been shown to improve mental health. Letting yourself relax into the rhythms of the garden is a calming process and one that inspires creativity and gives you space to work through thoughts and explore solutions to problems.
When all of these benefits come together, it’s no surprise that gardening can boost and enhance your mood. By moving your body and giving yourself space to think, breathe and be present with your thoughts, you’re actively choosing to enhance your mood and sense of wellbeing.
There is so much evidence that shows how transformative and beneficial gardening can be for our mental health. Whether you garden often or only sporadically, you will still enjoy the benefits. While gardening is not the answer to everything and not a sole solution to mental health problems, it can help provide a welcome reprieve from the increasingly busy lifestyles we lead.
Gardening also provides an incredible sense of satisfaction for what you can achieve – whether it be raking leaves, preparing beds, adding mulch, pruning or planting. It’s wonderful to look back on your day in the garden feeling physically worked and emotionally satisfied.
Have you discovered the benefits of gardening? How has gardening changed your everyday life? We’d love to know.