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It’s no secret that gardening helps you live a healthier life. Aside from the fact that gardening produces vegetables that are really healthy and reduce your waistline, it also contributes to your sense of mental health.
Studies have shown that gardening gives a lot of benefits to mental health. A study in the Netherlands found out that 30 minutes of gardening relieves stress more effectively than reading for 30 minutes. Gardening showed lower levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Because of the meditative effect of gardening, it is very good at distracting us from our problems and the stresses of everyday life.
Here's seven ways that gardening contributes to our well-being:
1. Gardening connects us with nature.
We’re always fascinated by nature. Who isn’t? Reconnecting with nature in this modern, digital world has a huge impact on our mental health. Spending time in green spaces can help us relax and de-stress. It also helps us feel more in harmony with the world.
The sound of nature helps bring balance to our life.
2. Gardening exposes us to sunlight and fresh air.
Exposure to sunlight is known to increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical responsible for balancing the brain and making us feel good. Sunlight also increases melatonin, a chemical in our brain that induces sleep.
Fresh air is full of oxygen, providing health to the cells in our bodies. It helps us feel more energized and sleep better at night. Just being outside and inhaling fresh air promotes good mental focus and well-being.
3. Gardening provides physical exercise.
Physical exercise also increases serotonin levels which help control our mood. Growing a garden involves physical exercise - from mild to moderate to heavy work, all of these are involved in maintaining your vegetable or floral patch. Even simple gardening activities like weeding, pruning, digging and watering plants requires movement and stretching, all great for the body.
4. Gardening is a purposeful activity.
According to studies, people with common mental illness like depression have what medical professionals call “rumination”, which is a cycle of negative thoughts that people can’t easily snap out of. Being involved in an activity that creates a purpose or engaging in a meaningful activity helps interrupt that train of negative thoughts. It gives people experiencing depression an existential purpose. To put it simply, it gives their lives meaning.
5. Gardening helps you be in the moment.
Lately, the word “mindfulness” has been floating around as a new and trending buzzword. Basically, mindfulness is a meditative state about just being in the present or being in the moment. When you are gardening, the activity takes you out of your head and focuses on what you do with your hands. It just gives you that space where you focus on being in the moment.
6. Gardening promotes socialization.
While you do your actual gardening in solitude, there are social effects to this. Joining gardening groups and being active in the community helps boost your social skills. There’s a very strong community aspect to being a part of a group that has the same aspirations and sense of pride, as well as a way to share experiences and knowledge.
7. Gardening shows off your creative side.
We are all born creative and how we express our creativity varies from one person to another. Gardening is one of those activities that allows us to show off a person’s creative side. The book 59 Seconds wrote about a productivity hack that included putting plants in an office. It boosted the creativity of employees by 15%. The explanation to this dates back thousands of years. In their opinion, being with trees and plants initiates an ancient feeling of calmness because it suggests an abundance of nearby food, which eased our worries about where our next meal would come from. These pleasant feelings make people happier and more creative.
Our conclusion to a happy life: Just unplug and dig dirt!
There are many other reasons why gardening helps with our wellbeing, but these are the most common mental health benefits. So, the moment you step into your garden, commit to leaving your world behind, even if just for an hour. When it’s time to garden, slow down, be meditative, relax and disconnect from the rest of the world.
Do you have everything you need for your gardening? Check out Cate’s Garden for quality tools you need for your garden.
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