Gardening And Mental Health
There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that gardening and mental health has a relationship. Mental health is about as important -and for some, even more important- than physical health.
Issues such as stress, anxiety and depression can present themselves in many ways, and none of them is pleasant. Stress and anxiety can lower our life expectancies, and cause diseases such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, heart problems and even Alzheimer’s disease. There are many ways to fight stress and anxiety. Some people like to meditate, some like to exercise and we like to spend time in our garden. Gardening has so many benefits on our mental health. It really is a way to escape from the world and just submerge ourselves in nature and open air. Taking care of something other than ourselves or our problems has a cathartic effect on our brain: it’s healing and allows us to focus on something different than our own issues.
Wait… there’s more
It helps to grow patience in our day to day life, to slow down the frenetic pace we conduct our lives with. A study in Sweden shows us that gardening reduces the amount of stress and stressed related incidents. Gardening has also shown to improve people’s moods. Additionally, it reduces their chances of developing anxiety or depression symptoms.
This is why we believe the potential of this hobby to be amazing. Not to forget, gardening is an extremely varied activity. The choices of what to do are infinite. People that suffer from mental health issues or even just whoever lives a hectic lifestyle will absolutely benefit from spending some time every day in their garden. In uncertain times like these, it’s easy to fall into a grim spiral of thoughts. Gardening is also cheap, requires low maintenance -but heaps of love!- and is easy to learn.
How do I get mindfulness in the garden?
1. Scheduling time and being intentional with what you want to do in the garden
2. Unplug and disconnect from your phone or devices! Leave it all in the house on silent mode.
3. Observing and connecting with different elements in the garden using your senses – sight, sound, smell and touch
4. Focus on the task at hand. Silence the mind when thoughts, ideas or to-do lists start intruding and just let them pass through without attaching to it.
For more information on gardening and mental health, check out Sustainable Gardening Australia’s article on Gardening for the Body, Mind & Spirit