Getting outside and spending time in natural surroundings is a great way to relax, reset, and improve your mental health. Just looking at a beautiful vista or listening to an outdoor NPR program can have a positive effect on your mood.
That’s because exposure to natural elements — like the smell of soil, the sound of birds chirping, and the sight of trees growing — releases endorphins in the brain that make you feel happier.
But why is spending time in nature so beneficial? And what are the specific benefits of gardening for mental health and well-being? This article explores these topics in-depth to give you all the information you need to take up gardening as part of your self-care routine.
Gardening is a great activity for people who are looking to improve and maintain their physical health. Whether you’re looking for a way to get stronger or prevent injury, gardening is a great way to stay active and healthy. Additionally, gardening can help you to reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems related to being overweight.
Health benefits aside, many other self-care benefits of gardening are worth exploring. Gardening can be a great way for people to connect with nature and relieve anxiety and depression. Some research has even found that gardening can be a helpful treatment for mental health issues.
For Stress Relief
One of the most common benefits of gardening is that it enables you to reduce stress levels. This is because gardening requires you to relax, focus on the present moment, and appreciate the natural environment.
By applying these principles while gardening, you eliminate the need to overthink and over-plan. This relaxes you so that you have more clarity and focus to tackle the day without being overwhelmed by the tasks and responsibilities that come with living in a modern world.
For Cognitive Benefits
Gardening is also a great way to increase your cognitive function and improve your thinking skills. Similar to the relaxation that comes from not overthinking while gardening, this is a welcome effect.
It allows you to focus on the task at hand and not be burdened with “what ifs” and “could haves” that can distract you from enjoying the present moment. Soaking up the sunshine as you garden (and listening to some NPR while you do so) is a great way to increase your vitamin D levels, which have been linked to improved concentration and memory.
For Increased Physical Activity
Gardening is also a great way to get more physical activity into your day. While you may not be able to run after a squirrel the way you used to, walking the length of your garden, raking leaves, or weeding your flowers is still great exercise. This can be especially beneficial if you have been inactive or overweight because it is a low-impact exercise that does not put excessive stress on your joints and other body parts.
For Improving Communication and Collaboration Abilities
Gardening can be a great way to improve your communication and collaboration skills. This can be especially helpful in social situations where you may not have the right vocabulary or body language to express exactly what you mean. Gardening allows you to focus purely on the task at hand while communicating what you wish to say.
Gardening can help to calm nerves. Being nervous is not necessarily a bad thing. We are naturally nervous when we meet new people, make new social connections, or perform in front of large audiences. But when nerves cause us to feel anxious or rushy, they can get in the way of our daily lives. Being able to calm our nerves with gardening can help us to regain emotional balance. It can also help improve our social connections.
Give You a Sense of Purpose
People often feel far less stressed when they have a sense of purpose. When you pursue a hobby that benefits society in some way, it can give you a sense of purpose. Gardening can provide a sense of purpose by growing food, educating others about healthy eating, and giving back to the community. It can also serve as therapy and help you to work through issues that may be causing you anxiety.
Improve Social Connections
Gardening offers many benefits in terms of improving social connections. Gardening is a great way to build friendships, make dating more interesting, and meet new people. Many people choose to garden as a way to improve their mental health and social connections.
Gardening is a relaxing and therapeutic activity that can help you relax and relieve stress. It can also improve your cognitive function and increase your physical activity level. It can also increase your communication and collaboration abilities. Natural therapy can also be beneficial for people who are experiencing depression and anxiety.
This is because it lets you connect with nature, relax, and reduce your stress levels. Growing your vegetables can also be a great way to save money and eat healthier. If you’re interested in trying this out, there are plenty of gardening guides and seed packets that can help you get started.