Mental Health Benefits Provided By Gardening


1. Stress Relief

One of the major benefits to mental health that is provided by gardening is that it helps to relieve stress. Researchers discovered this relaxing effect when they investigated forested bathing or bathing in green, which is a concept from the Japanese of walking in a forested area.

Gardening also offers a welcome break from our daily routine which has become increasingly dominated by tech. It was found in a study that there were significant mood differences when the response of participants to two tasks was compared: transplanting and doing work on a computer.

House and garden
Used with permission of Emily Followill

When transplanting, participants experienced lower levels of stress compared to spending time working at a computer. It was also noted by researchers that when participants were transplanting their blood pressure was lower which suggests that gardening’s de-stressing effect does have a physical basis.

Also, research conducted in the Netherlands by Vrije University Medical Centre showed that relaxation was induced by just looking at a green landscape image, in contrast to the continuous demands on our attention demanded by urban landscapes. The researchers concluded that looking at green pictures might help people recover from their stress.

2. Strengthen and grounding connection

A feeling of grounding is fostered by gardening, which helps people reconnect with their roots as humans. Individuals who garden frequently experience a deeper connection and sense of belonging with nature. That is no easy task. Just think how disconnection most people from as basic as the origins of the food that they consume.

Gardening, by contrast, grounds you in how valuable it is to grow your own food – even if it is just growing. The feeling of grounds is applicable to the social realm as well. Gardening can help to strengthen the connection you have with other people and provides you with the opportunity to meet individuals who have the same interests that you do. You can get connected with like-minded people by visiting the urban garden closest to you.

3. Staying present

Garden with pots
Used with permission of Blackband Design

There are numerous benefits associated with staying in the present by practicing mindfulness, including stress reduction and reduced rumination. Gardening provides you with a way to practice mindfulness since you must focus on what you are doing. You also can enjoy the beauty surrounding you. All tasks that are related to gardening (including weeding, pruning, and digging) forces you to task on the task at hand. This makes it more likely to remain in the present and set your worries aside, even if it is temporary.

4. A sense of purpose

Gardening can also help you achieve a sense of purpose and worth, which is another benefit that it offers to your mental health. That occurs when you are directly involved in a hands-on activity and you are able to see your effort’s end results. There is a feeling of validation and pride when you choose flowers, herbs, and plants that bring you happiness, along with the pride you feel when you nurture them. Studies have shown that gardening results in increased feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, since helping plants grow enhances our nurturer identity. If you feel you need help with your mental health, reach out to the Clarity Clinic in Chicago.

5. Reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s

House garden in the sunrise
Used with permission of Blackband Design

Other things that have been linked to gardening include improved memory and concentration along with better brain function. It has been found in some studies that it can also reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. A long-term study conducted in Australia followed almost 3,000 older adults for more than 15 years. They tracked incidences of all forms of dementia and assessed various lifestyle factors. It was concluded by researchers that the single largest risk for dementia was daily gardening. It reduced incidence by 36 percent or over one-third.

The factors causing Alzheimer’s along with its progression are not well understood. However, so many critical functions are involved in gardening including problem-solving, dexterity, endurance, strength, and learning. This combination may contribute to warding off this illness for older adults.

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