Have you ever thought of gardening for mental health and the benefits that you can sow from it?
Here are a few reasons we are talking about gardening for mental health today and what we will look at when it comes to the benefits of gardening:
- increasing your physical activity and exercise,
- building confidence,
- stress-relief and depression,
- healthy food to eat,
- and more.
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Gardening For Mental Health
Whether you are a pro gardening or a newbie to gardening altogether, there are some huge benefits to gardening I want to talk with you about today.
Whether you plant in a single pot on your window sill or have a large garden on an acreage, you can gain something from this article.
I, myself, have a few raised garden beds, a few large flower/garden beds and so many pots I lost track of how many. Our yard is average size with many fruit trees and home to our three busy children and many busy bees too. Our yard is definitely our oasis.
Although it has been under constant construction this past year I’m so excited to see what the years to come will bring, which is a hint at a very important point when it comes to gardening for mental health. We will get there in Gardening For Mental Health Benefit #3.
1. The Power Of Growth in the Garden
The power of taking a seed and turning it into a 10-foot sprawling pumpkin or some other squash plant is not to be dismissed. Something in your heart just warms with glee as you watch the seed sprout through the deep dark soil and reach up for the blue sun-filled sky.
It’s mesmerizing and exciting, it’s a breath of fresh air and it’s often much different from the hustle and bustle outside of our garden walls.
Watching things grow does something to our hearts and minds that invests us in nature and a connection with nature is incredible.
What a gift to create pride, confidence and happiness within our hearts by using our hands!
2. Good Bacterias Make Gardening for Mental Health Successful
Gardening is also great for depression!
Soil has been proven to help with depression, there have been many studies showing how the chemicals within soil stir up the chemicals within us that produce serotonin, our happy hormone.
Mycobacterium Vaccae is found in soil and this lovely bacteria is what makes gardening for mental health a real game-changer. This bacteria acts much like antidepressant drugs, but in a natural form found right in our environment and in most cases right next to the front door.
So how does this work? We dig in the soil and it stirs up microbes that we inhale and it increases our levels of serotonin and Norephedrine. Yes, it really is as simple as smelling dirt! If you want to know more about increasing these levels naturally check out the Happiness Journal with Bonus ebook in my Etsy Shop!
Beautiful 95 page 30 day challenge journal with bonus ebook to get the most out of your happiness journey.
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3. Gardening For Mental Health Encourages Forward Thinking & Planning
When you plant a tree, such as fruit trees, you understand you will not get instant gratification but instead, you look forward to the years to come, to the strength the tree will build, to the fruits that will come within the next years.
Thinking about the future and planning are great benefits from gardening that help keep you focused and paying attention while allowing you to imagine the possibilities of tomorrow.
Gardening also invokes a part of our mind that is planning for the future. It requires a lot of patience and encourages our imagination to create a vision of our beautiful garden vision to come.
Planning the garden is also incredibly powerful for our mental health. Using our creative minds to design a garden space that we will love and that will work with nature is great gardening for mental health.
4. Freedom of Expression & Change
From the first designs to 20 years down the road, we are using our creative thinking to express ourselves.
It’s incredibly important to try new things and allow yourself to think outside of the box. Draw inspiration from others but remember to express yourself in what you do.
You may not like where you put those giant alliums in a few years, but you can always move them or gift them to a fellow gardener.
Being in our gardens weeding, watering or picking fruits and vegetables is a tranquil experience that many find relaxing.
When I feel overwhelmed and stressed I like to go hide in the garden patch and pick some weeds, truth be told the kids usually give me a good amount of space when I’m weeding the front flower bed so that they don’t get rounded up into weeding too haha.
5. Gardening for Mental Health: A Mindfulness Mindset
Gardening can be a relaxing and stress-relieving activity whether you are enjoying it by sitting in your garden, walking by, watering or taking in the harvest. Mindfulness comes naturally when you are in nature and allowing yourself to take it all in.
If practicing mindfulness is difficult for you gardening for mental health might just be the gateway you have been looking for.
Not only can you grow your own food and create a beautiful landscape but it can also help you healthwise too!
I cannot express how much more mindful I feel when I’m with plants, caring for them, harvesting their fruits, smelling their gorgeous blooms.
Allow yourself to stop and smell the roses if you will.
6.The Gift of Giving & Sharing Our Gardens
Gardening is also great for our mental health because it encourages giving and our sharing of our abundance. We share it on the table at home or with our neighbours and our friends and it’s a warm fuzzy feeling to give and receive.
Homegrown food always tastes better and if you get the kids into gardening you can bet they will find a love for some of those veggies they say they do not like.
One of our twin girls is a prime example. She does not like potatoes, but she absolutely loves Mom’s garden potatoes, I’m going to need to plant a much bigger garden next year.
Sharing is caring and a great act of kindness when you have an abundance!
7. Did you know gardening is good for the environment?
When we garden we create our own little ecosystem we support all different stages of life from pests to plants and when we do it right we can help the environment.
Compost! Oh, my word, having the opportunity to compost is amazing, you can help your soil live and you can cut so much waste from going to the dump just by composting your scraps from fruits, veggies, coffee, grass and so much more.
One of my goals for gardening is not to use any pesticide, it may mean extra work for me but I know I won’t hurt other parts of the food webs like beneficial insects and our soil.
There are a lot of ways to protect our gardens without chemicals and sometimes we need to think about the bigger part of the cycle. This could be a whole book so let’s stop there.
If you have more tips on eco-friendly gardening let me know in the comments!
8. Share your knowledge/ Grow a Community
No matter what stage you are in you have valuable knowledge to share with someone else.
Teach your children about gardening or answer a question from another gardener.
I have been fortunate enough to find some amazing gardening groups on Facebook. I love learning and helping others when I can.
There seems to be a gardener’s code out there, and it’s a lovely one filled with support, compliments and sharing.
Build a community around the love of gardening and reap the rewards of gardening for mental health!
9. Physical Health & Exercise For Mental Health
Gardening is also great for your physical health. It is also great physical exercise! This is often underlooked but gardening can take quite a lot of muscle power.
Working in the garden, whether it be digging a new bed or prepping last year’s garden come spring requires a lot of manual labour.
This is a great opportunity to enjoy the benefits that physical activity has on our bodies as well as get a bonus of instant gratification by standing back and appreciating our hard work in the garden at day’s end.
Don’t be afraid to carry around some soil and push wheel barrel, dig a hole for a new tree or get down on your hands and knees to weed the garden. This is one of the greatest benefits and exercise is great for mental health!
Gardening For Mental Health Food For The Body & The MInd
Thank you for coming today! I hope this article on gardening for mental health helps inspire you to grab some dirt and get your hands dirty.
I would love to know which of these benefits were your favourite?
Was it Growing a community, practicing mindfulness in the garden or perhaps the exercise benefit without needing to go to the gym?
Which of these surprised you the most?
Was it the bacteria that helps battle depression? Was it the possibility of creating your own ecosystem, or maybe it was the ability to use your expression and how gardening is a giant canvas that you get to fill with your personal taste?
One more bonus tip I think you might enjoy is adding gardening for mental health to your morning routine! I love watering my garden while listening to the early birds sing and while the rest of the world is still quietly scampering about indoors.
Love Your Guts! Take care & Chat soon,