Wednesday, 4 May 2022

How gardening can help improve mental health

As well as spending time outdoors soaking up the vitamin D and fresh air, gardening has a whole heap of benefits and natural healing powers that can significantly improve your mental health and wellbeing. All your green-fingered hard work will be rewarded with so much more than a pretty garden.

It improves mood

Connecting with nature, from listening to birdsong to inhaling the sweet scent of flowers, can make you feel calm and relaxed, and it’s also a good way to distract your mind from overthinking and negative thoughts. By practising mindfulness and savouring every moment of being in the garden, whether that’s weeding or watering the plants, you’ll feel more in tune with nature. Simply being outside also comes with its health benefits as the Vitamin D gained from exposure to sunlight can lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system.

It boosts self-esteem

As humans, it’s not only in our nature to want to be cared for but also for us to nurture others. To be relatively successful in your gardening efforts, you need to take good care of the plants and flowers that you grow in order for them to flourish. By nurturing them and seeing the results of your labour, you’ll start to feel a wonderful sense of achievement, which in turn will boost your self-esteem and confidence.

It reduces feelings of stress and anxiety

Combined with enjoying the peace and natural beauty of any garden, gardening is a great stress buster. As well as the physical act of gardening, being among nature and the great outdoors can make you feel calmer, which will ultimately lessen your symptoms of anxiety and stress.

It improves attention span

If you struggle with concentration, by regularly paying attention to one activity at a time, such as gardening, without any distractions, you can gradually improve your attention span. Because of this, gardening can offer fantastic natural therapy for anyone with ADHD of other conditions that make it difficult to focus.

It provides exercise

Garden activities such as mowing the lawn, weeding, raking or digging are great forms of physical exercise and are often more enjoyable than going to the gym. A study undertaken by the John W. Brick Foundation found that regular physical activity could improve symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.

It reduces feelings of loneliness

Often when we’re pottering around in our own garden, at a community garden or at an allotment, we’re introduced to like-minded people who share a love for gardening. This is a great way to meet other people and get chatting about your hobby. Alternatively, you could join online gardening communities to help you feel connected and prevent feelings of loneliness.

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