7 Secret Health Benefits Of Gardening
Busy work schedules, overcrowded places and noise, non-stop use of electronic gadgets in order to be available at all times – it can be too much for our psyche. Under the pressure of everyday life, we forget to live in here and now.
As much as our physical body needs recovery from illnesses and strenuous activities from time to time, so much do our spirit and mind. The comfort of your home is important but it’s your garden that will provide you with exactly what your overwhelmed mind needs. It’s an excellent cure for our psychological issues and everyday stress.
As many of us don’t have the time to take long nature walks, spending time surrounded by flowers and plants in your garden can be truly helpful. You probably know that gardening and simply being in the garden have a soothing effect on us but here’s how they actually heal and boost our spirit.
1. Plant Your Way Out Of Stress
Stress has become a modern plague. It is really hard on our body, leading to all kinds of issues, including headaches, irritability, stomach aches and even heart attack as it worsens the conditions affecting your heart.
So, we need to fight it in any way possible. Luckily, just stepping out into the garden changes things. “The stress hormone”, cortisol, decreases significantly if you relax in your garden.
Even 30 minutes spent on gardening can lower stress and improve your mood, so whenever you feel like you’ve had a rough day and you need to decompress, step outside into your personal paradise and do some weeding.
2. A Plant Grown – A Step Made To Strong Self-Esteem
No matter what you think, anybody can grow a garden. The only difference is how big or demanding it will be. Maybe you have always felt that you weren’t born with a green thumb but that just isn’t true.
There are various plants, vegetables and fruits that don’t ask much of you except a bit of water now and then and occasional weeding. And why is it necessary to try to grow plants? Well, the boost you’ll get to your self-esteem is a great feeling indeed! It’s not really clear why nurturing plants is so satisfying for us.
It’s more than brain hormones being released. Just think about it: you planted a seed, you were watering it, weeding, nurturing it and eventually – you get to harvest it or to enjoy the view! It will definitely affect the way you see yourself when you look in the mirror.
You are somebody who managed to take care of another living thing and help it grow and shine. So, if you can do that, who knows what else you’re capable of? Self-esteem isn’t something we’re born with; it’s something that needs to be grown and worked on – just like your beautiful garden.
2. Let Your Beautiful Garden Be The Mirror Of Your Mental Health
Maybe you have already heard from your friends or neighbors how morning work in the garden among the vegetables and flowers lifts up their spirits. This isn’t just a matter of personal tastes – there are scientific facts that have proven that gardening really significantly helps fighting mental illnesses like depression.
In fact, “horticultural therapy” is a real thing – gardening is a great combination of mild physical activity, cognitive stimulation that comes with work and awareness of being surrounded by greenery, fruits and vegetables – natural elements. Lastly, let’s not forget the feeling of achievement after successful work.
If you’re aiming at providing therapeutic properties inside your garden to fight anxiety and depression, then you should allow yourself to satisfy all your senses.
In other words, you should have both flowering and scented plants in the garden, as well as food-producing plants like fruit and vegetables. You should also designate a place where you can sit comfortably after the works, enjoying the view and results of your own work.
If you get sweaty and hot, don’t get annoyed – just as a spa and a hot bath are recommendable for relieving tension, so is raising body temperature in the garden. In order for gardening to be fully therapeutic, it’s important to drink plenty of water and not strain yourself too much.
Knowing your limits is necessary in order to be in peace with yourself. That is how you’ll sustain your mental well-being, prevent depression, sleep better and function better in general.
4. Among Your Flowers And Vegetables, You’re Never Really Alone
Many retired people start feeling lonely, once their working obligations stopped and when they have to change their routine. It can get really hard to fulfill a whole day, every day for the rest of their lives. It’s no wonder many retired people start feeling lonely and isolated, not having too much communication with people and not many opportunities to connect with them.
This is where a garden can be incredibly helpful. First of all, some retired people feel like they have lost their purpose once they no longer have to work and provide. Having plants to nurture and take care of could be highly beneficial for them.
Suddenly, there are so many living things to take care of on an everyday basis. All of them need your attention and care and, in return, they bloom in beautiful colors and give tasty fruits. So, it’s a two-way street.
Another way gardening can help retired people but also others fighting loneliness is the opportunity to socialize in community gardens.
No one says you only need to hang out in your own garden – bring your gardening gloves and gardening tools and join a community garden.
Community gardens are collaborative projects on open spaces where various participants come together to plant and grow different flowers, bushes, vegetables, etc. In a way, it brings people from one community together, uniting them for a healthy, useful cause where everybody will get exactly what they need.
5. A Happy Gardener – Is There Any Other?
Be honest – what do you feel when you look at your thriving garden, its layers, colors and shapes? Yes, you feel happy. Well, there is a scientific explanation of why gardening tends to lift out mood and make us instantly smile and happier over a longer period of time. M. vaccae is a healthy bacteria that live in the soil.
Every time you inhale it when you step into the garden, you inhale it. The bacteria then release serotonin, which is responsible for making us happy, reducing anxiety.
So, this basically means that every time you take a walk in nature or set foot in the garden, you’ll get a dose of happiness! This is why astronauts that have to spend a long time in space always have a garden to keep inside the spaceship.
It keeps them happy and occupied and gives them a joyful purpose while being isolated in the outer space. So, if it can help an astronaut thousands of miles away from home to stay happy and in a positive mood, why wouldn’t it help you? Stay in the garden for as long as possible to stay happy!
6. You’ll Also Get Smart, Not Just Dirty
Gardening isn’t just about kneeling, weeding and pruning, namely, it’s not just pure physical work. It also gives your brain an opportunity to think. There are many things to plan and think through before you grab a gardening tool.
You need to design a layout of the garden and do research on various plants that are most likely to thrive in your region and in the soil around your home.
You also need to learn gardening techniques that force us to think creatively, to foresee a problem and to be able to solve it when it arises. In short, it develops our ability to take in new information and to think out of the box.
7. Nurturing Compassion, Not Just The Plants
People who spend a lot of time among plants have better relationships with other people, too. The secret is in compassion that develops while you nurture your plants, worry about their illnesses, tend to their needs and try to help them when they’re hurting.
It will reflect on your relationships – the compassionate side of you will motivate you to help people more and care more about their feelings. In return, you will form deeper, stronger relationships that will fulfill you on many levels.
So, once you start feeling compassion for the environment in which you live and the plants surrounding you, you will also start feeling compassionate about other people’s problems and issues.
Your level of empathy will be increased, making you a person people confide in and believe in. Consequently, you will receive the same level of care from them.
Final Words About The Joy Of Gardening
As you can see, gardening is so much more than swinging your gardening tools or getting dirty while kneeling on the ground. It isn’t just for the specific type of people, as there are so many types of garden.
Everyone can find something they enjoy growing and taking care of. And everybody will reap the mental benefits for it, among other things. Gardening brings us back to nature, to our roots that go as far as there has been civilization.
It reminds us that we are an inseparable part of nature and that we need it as much as it needs us. Every single plant or flower that we successfully grow in the garden reminds us of that fact.
That’s why it’s so calming and relaxing to spend time in the garden, regardless of whether we’re doing some gardening activity or simply enjoying the surroundings. It connects us to our deeper selves, and there are only peace and serenity there.
Sarah Jessica Smith is a young blogger from Sydney. She is in love with life and all the things that can make her daily routine easier. She loves to write about home improvement, lifestyle, and all the small things that make life such a great adventure.