Gardening for health & wellbeing

It’s not surprising to discover that in the past year more and more people have been struggling with their mental health and general wellbeing. And while gardening isn’t for everyone, it has been shown to be an effective way to boost mental and emotional health. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a sprawling garden, a concrete yard, or even just a balcony – you can still reap the benefits that getting green fingered can bring.

Studies have found that the mental health benefits of gardening are extensive. Not only can spending time in your outside space help reduce depression, anger and anxiety, but it can also reduce stress and combat high blood pressure, as well as improving overall physical fitness. So, what is it about pulling weeds, mowing the lawn and pruning shrubs that makes us feel so good?

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Sense of accomplishment and self-worth
Although the world around us may be chaotic, we can bring some sense of order to the garden. It’s incredibly rewarding to look out on a neatly weeded veggie patch, or a flower bed bursting with colour. Tucking into a delicious meal made from your home-grown vegetables is another huge accomplishment.

Great exercise
Working in the garden can be as strenuous as you make it. Gardening involves a lot of physical exercise and so is a form of physical therapy. Pruning, weeding and digging are all a great workout that can help keep you in shape. Regular exercise has also proven to be beneficial for a wide range of mental health issues, and can contribute to improving other aspects of our lives, such as helping us sleep better. We all know restful sleep is another key to good health.

Time to reconnect with nature
Nothing calms the mind quite like reconnecting with the natural world. A daily dose of Vitamin D in your own peaceful, green oasis is one of the best ways to alleviate stress. No matter your plot size (yes, even a balcony), just having somewhere with a bit of greenery can provide a valuable chance to escape the stresses of urban living. Sit back, relax and focus on the calming sounds and scents of nature instead.

Gardening is therapeutic
Keeping our minds focused on the task at hand, whether that’s repotting, mowing, chopping or weeding, is a great way to give our minds a break from those everyday worries that are stress inducing and may be getting us down.

Puts you in control
At a time when everything in your life can seem out of control, without the freedom you’re normally used to, it’s good to find something to get a grip on. Your outside space is yours to do what you like with, and a great way to feel more in control in the current climate.

It’s inclusive
Young or old, gardening doesn’t discriminate. Everyone can reap the rewards!

A safe place
To put it simply, plants don’t judge. For anyone struggling with mental health issues, those day-to-day tasks or going out into a social setting can be daunting. Gardening is a great way to get outside and channel that nervous energy into something purposeful, motivating and creative.

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Good for the whole family
While gardening is a great solo activity, it also presents a wonderful opportunity for bonding with your family. The happiness and stress relief that gardening provides can benefit everyone in the house, while providing a great hobby to share with loved ones. What’s more, gardening has special benefits for children too. As well as being a lot of fun, early exposure to dirt has been linked to numerous health benefits, from reducing allergies to autoimmune diseases.

These are only some of the many benefits of gardening for mental health, so if you’re looking for a hobby that will improve your mood and calm your mind then grab your gloves and trowel and get stuck into your outside space, you’ll soon see, and feel, a real difference.