Gardening is often considered a boring activity, but those who have had the privilege of trying it may have found that the opposite is true. Countless people fall in love with gardening every day, and those who do are doing their minds and bodies a favor.
You see, gardening has many benefits that it can bring you, which is why it is a hobby that gives as much as you receive. Here are 7 ways gardening can boost your well-being and improve your mental health.
1. It’s exercise
Many people have the incorrect perception of gardening that it is an easy and lazy task. Far from there! Gardening can be a real workout that burns a lot of calories while strengthening specific muscles. Give it a try and you will see how tired you can be after spending the morning caring for your flora.
Better yet, gardening offers all kinds of benefits that you can find in more conventional types of exercise. This includes:
When you mow, rake the ground, bend over to plant seeds, carry heavy watering cans, shovel or dig, and more, what you’re doing is exercising your muscles. In fact, most yard work uses every major muscle group in the body.
Weight loss or control
Working in a garden is a great physical effort. Studies suggest that this effort has positive effects on weight, helping to counteract obesity, reduce the risk of weight gain due to age, and assist with overall weight loss efforts and desires.
When you do yard work, you will likely get tired enough that sleep will be easier later. You may be able to fall asleep more quickly, and you will likely enjoy longer, deeper sleep as well, just like the more common forms of exercise!
2. Teach valuable lessons
Gardening is a unique activity. It means doing the best you can to nurture what you grow and expecting the world and the soil to return the favor. There is a lot you can learn from this process beyond standard gardening knowledge, and all of those lessons can work together to boost your positive thinking and make you a brighter person. Here are some examples:
You are not really in control of your garden. You can influence many of its aspects, but Mother Nature win the day at the end of the day. Gardening means accepting the fact that carefully planted flora can be damaged by passersby, animals, the weather … anything, really! And at the end of the day though, your plants turn out, that’s fine, and you can love them anyway!
A fixed mindset refers to the act of being “fixed” on your desires, knowledge, and perspectives, which means that a twist in those plans can derail you. A growth mindsetOn the other hand, it implies constant growth, learning and adaptation. It means taking things slow and seeing how to take advantage of them. Gardening is a great way to do this. Learn from your “mistakes” and begin to understand the subtleties of climate and soil that dictate the health of your plants. Above all, you will learn how to find uses for all your plants, no matter how they turn out!
As mentioned above, you do not have full control over the outcome of your garden. The concept of a perfect garden does not exist. Some plants will have blemishes and some leaves will be slightly damaged. So it is and so is life! Gardening is a great way to learn to let go of the desire for endless perfection, as it is impossible to achieve in this practice. Positive thinking is all you have.
3. It can help prevent disease
Gardening generally means that you will be out in the sun, and like the plants you care for, you will get quite an interesting benefit from absorbing sunlight. The name of this benefit is simple: vitamin D!
Just spending 30 minutes in the sun can lead to your body producing between 8,000 and 50,000 IU of vitamin D, according to studies, with great variation depending on the amount of covered clothing you have and the amount of melanin that is naturally on your skin.
But how does this help you with the disease? Vitamin D is a crucial part of a host of bodily functions, including strengthening the immune system and maintaining bone health. Subsequent research had indicated the many possibilities of disease that vitamin D affects affirmatively reducing your risk of development:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colon-rectal cancer
- Metabolic syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Condition of prediabetes
- prostate cancer
- Flare-ups of psoriasis
- Type 2 diabetes
Of course, overexposure to the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer, so be sure to absorb those rays in moderation!
Gardening means planting vegetables, fruits, or other similar edible plants that you probably want to find a way to use. This will unconsciously encourage you to cook more and ensure that you are using fresh ingredients without pesticides or toxic additives.
Nothing you grow in a garden is pre-processed or prepackaged. They are not packed with preservatives and hidden calories. Instead, they are simple whole foods that you will want to add to dishes. Even if you don’t want to cook just yet, using what you’ve planted in snacks or quick chunks means you’re eating healthier options than ordinary snacks.
5. It is therapeutic
If you like gardening, you will likely find it quite therapeutic. The natural process of growing plants and caring for them can do wonders for the brain. Here are some common ways that gardening can be immensely therapeutic and beneficial:
· Anger control
People often underestimate the amount of effort, sweat, and physique that goes into gardening. Doing garden chores, especially those that involve pruning, digging, or other similar activities, will help take the stress out of it. You will be able to unload your anger on the ground and not harm anyone else!
When you are stressed, going out to the garden can help you calm down. You will work with that excess tension and nervous energy and benefit from the release of positive hormones called endorphins. This can help you calm down and relax you, even in the most stressful times.
Recovery from addictions
It is not unusual for horticultural therapy to be used in the addiction recovery process. Studies have shown that gardening is a better rehabilitation tool than art for addiction recovery, often leading to more positive feelings and higher levels of self-satisfaction.
Alteration of consciousness
This is something spiritual, but if you like it, it is a great benefit that you can get for your positive thinking and your state of mind. If you’ve ever done gardening, you know that the specific kind of approach you need is one that puts you in a new state of mind. You’re basically “in the zone,” so to speak, and it changes the way you feel and how you experience the world in that moment. For many people, this is incredibly therapeutic and helps them stay firm and alert in the moment.
6. Forces self-care
If you often struggle with personal care, gardening can help you in surprising ways. You see, the fact is that the act of gardening requires you to take care of yourself, no doubts or buts about it.
If you don’t practice certain acts of precaution and self-care, you won’t be able to garden properly. For health and safety reasons, often both you and those around you, certain steps must be taken. For example, when gardening, you should:
- Dress appropriately in closed and fear-of-safety clothing, sometimes even goggles, to protect yourself from the elements, tools, and dirt.
- Listen carefully to what your body is telling you to avoid injury.
- Be aware of the instructions on chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other similar products that you use for your plants in the garden.
- Drink enough water to avoid dehydration from exertion and the sun
- Make sure you use and store sharp tools and toxic objects properly, especially if you have children or pets roaming around.
- Use sunscreen, insect repellent, or similar products to avoid discomfort or difficulties later.
- Make sure your tetanus shots are up to date because tetanus can be found in the ground
But what does this have to do with mental health? Well, for those of you who don’t practice self-care, having no choice but to do it for a hobby can help you get into the habit of taking care of yourself. So if you have a hard time treating yourself kindly, gardening can help you get used to doing it, eventually allowing you to practice self-care without being prompted outside the garden.
7. Promote connection
Gardening can be an extraordinary activity because it helps you foster connections to many different facets of life. For whatever reason, this simple hobby has a way of getting you close to many things at once. This feeling of being connected is great for your mental health as it can make you feel purposeful or like you are not alone, which you are not! Here are some ways that gardening promotes connection and feelings of togetherness:
- You can connect with the food you grow and the seeds you plant, and you can even feel more connected to nature and the earth.
- You can connect more with the world around you, as gardening requires you to pay attention to factors such as weather, temperature, and sunlight.
- You will connect with your caring side and you may even feel like a parent to the plants you grow.
- You can connect with other people who enjoy gardening, and the connection can be formed quickly due to the novelty of the hobby and the inherent way it touches people.
- You can join community or family gardens to work on something in collaboration with others who have found joy and peace in gardening, often leading to better personal well-being, according to studies
- You will connect with people from all walks of life and from different origins and cultures, thus broadening your horizons.
Thinking of starting a garden? Do your research and start small! You’ll learn as you go and reap all kinds of mental health and wellness benefits along the way!