Through the centuries, gardens have served not only as places to grow plants but as spaces for people to relax, to focus and to connect with nature and each other. Today, gardening can provide many mental health benefits for your daily life. Here are some of the benefits from gardening for your mental/physical health.
- Improves mood- Gardening can make you feel more peaceful and content. Focusing your attention on the immediate tasks and details of gardening can reduce negative thoughts and feelings and can make you feel better in the moment. Just spending time around plants eases stress for many people.
- Boosts self-esteem- Self-esteem is how much you value and feel positively about yourself. When you see your work pay off with healthy plants or produce, your sense of pride gets a boost.
- Improves attention span- Gardening can change how well you pay attention to a single activity. If you struggle with staying focused on tasks, conversations or topics in your daily life; gardening can help you learn to concentrate on what’s right in front of you without getting distracted. Studies show that outdoor activities can reduce similar symptoms of ADHD.
- Provides exercise- Activities such as weeding, digging and raking are great exercise. Regular exercise reduces anxiety, depression and other mental issues. It also helps decrease cortisol, the stress hormone and increase endorphins.
- Improving nutrition- Many gardeners grow their own fresh fruits or vegetables and people who eat diets high in whole foods like fruits and vegetables are up to 35% less likely to develop depression than people who eat less of these foods.
Not only can the quality of your food improve when you’re growing it yourself, but it can also be a money saver. Instead of buying a bag or head or lettuce for a dollar or two, you can buy a tray of six plants or a pack of 200 seeds for two dollars.
When you do start working on your beautiful garden remember to grow organically. Organic gardens are gaining popularity as people realize the many benefits to themselves, the environment and other living creatures. Organic gardening simply means not using synthetic or chemical fertilizers, insecticides or pesticides. Instead, organic gardeners stick to fertilizers made from animal or vegetable by-products and get creative when dealing with unwanted pests, often utilizing beneficial insects or plants that deter the unwelcome visitors.
Not only does an organic garden cause less harm than conventional-type gardening, it actually has many benefits.
- Organically grown food helps defend against cancer with its higher essential vitamins and nutrients.
- By eating organically grown food, you ingest fewer chemicals.
- Organic gardens feed the soil rather than depletes it.
- Most organic gardeners use compost, which reduces the amount of waste going to landfills.
Go to your local library or useful websites online, read up on gardening tips and tools and start creating your dream garden today!