There are many benefits of gardening for mental health. Leading studies such as those done by the Mental Health journal show that 90% of adults reported improved mental health and wellness after taking part in gardening sessions. They also showed signs of increased motivation and confidence. Gardening is not only a great way to unwind and de-stress, it is also a good form of physical exercise.
The Physical Effects of Gardening
Physical exercise is a fantastic way to boost mood. When we exercise levels of stress hormone (cortisol) is lowered and hormones that make us feel happy (dopamine and serotonin) rise. Gardening also increases Vitamin D absorption that has been proven to reduce depression, simply by being outdoors.
Some of the benefits of gardening are quite surprising. Have you had a bad day at the office? Gardening can allow us to vent some of that frustration in a constructive way. On days like this there is no better time than to tackle the jobs that require you to hack away, chop up or rip up; to disperse the inner rage! Expending all that energy will help you to feel tired and hence sleep better too, which in turn helps you to feel less lethargic and more energetic. Not only this, but it will improve your overall fitness, muscle tone and flexibility.
The Mental Effects of Gardening
There are numerous positive benefits of gardening for mental health created from the act of gardening, which include;
- Stopping to smell the roses! Being in the moment and focusing on what is happening around you is one of the greatest things about gardening. From feeling the breeze on your face, listening to the birds singing, to literally smelling the roses. Gardening is a sensory experience and has the additional bonus of keeping our brains healthy. Studies have shown that gardening can significantly reduce the risk for dementia.
- Gardening instills a sense of achievement, created by watching your seedlings turn into a magnificent display- that you created!
- Gardeners quickly realise that there are many things that they can’t control in their gardens- such as the weather for instance. The realisation that you cannot control everything in life can spill over into your everyday life, making you feel happier overall.
- Caring for your plants and instilling a sense of responsibility, purpose and pride when you successfully manage to keep them alive!
Gardening has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, combat low self-esteem and provide a source of relaxation. The reduction of stress can also help combat high blood pressure. Gardening allows us to improve both our mental and physical health simultaneously in a spiraling upward trend. So in these times of self-isolation, getting out into the garden might be just what the Doctor ordered!