How often do you end up taking a walk in the park in your neighborhood or simply stroll around the garden at the backside of your house every time you are down or feel a little stressed out? Be it resting your feet on the warm, soft green grass or running your hands through the beautiful flowers bursting with color, doesn’t the nature’s touch simply ease away all your sorrows and stresses for the time being?
This probably rings true for all the gardeners and horticulturalists out there who are immediately uplifted every time they head out into their garden and start puttering around their lush plants.
Interestingly, recent research by various horticultural therapists shows that gardening might just be the solution and treatment for a number of mental health issues. In the words of Monty Don, a famous speaker on horticulture who is also best known for presenting the television series on BBC called Gardeners’ World, “gardening can do what medicine ‘tries to mimic’ for mental health.”
Gardening Improves Mental Wellbeing
A famous horticultural therapist named Thomas Erskine was reported to have said that he enjoys a “sense of connection” whenever he is working outdoors because being fully absorbed in the gardening activity helps take a break from the frenzy of the noisy world out there. Extensive research on the ways in which gardening improves mental wellbeingshows that it is an excellent, uplifting exercise that fosters both mental and physical wellbeing that ultimately helps reduce and even prevent mental illnesses.
Considering this research on the positive effects of gardening on our wellbeing, the Royal Horticultural Society has began to explore and discover gardening therapyas the ultimate treatment for mental health issues since quite a while now. In addition to that, a number of gardens are being dedicated to exploring human well-being, but most importantly, the mental well being.
The Benefits of Nature’s Healing Touch
The healing potential of gardening has recently come to the fore as numerous mental health professionals and doctors have begun to realize the fact that it is probable that gardening improves mental well being and offers a kind of therapeutic process which helps make a person’s mind and body healthier and happier.
Here are various ways in which gardening and horticulture can help ward off multiple mental health issues and also prevent the risk of acquiring cognitive disorders.
It Helps Prevent Depression and Anxiety
Anxiety and depression are considered to be two of the most debilitating and common health issues thataffect almost every other individual. Not only do they ruin a person’s quality of lifebut greatly destruct their relationships, lifestyles and their careers. In some extreme and severe cases, depression and anxiety have also resulted in death due to intense suicidal thoughts and instances of self-neglect.
Surprisingly, gardening has been shown to have a truly positive effect on these mental health problems. Not just this but a study conducted in 2013 showed that surrounding oneself with nature results in higher levels of well-being and significantly lower mental distress.
The healing abilities of nature improve the mental health by releasing mood-enhancing endorphins in the body that help ward off depressive and anxious feelings. Furthermore, spending time among greenery has been shown to release a substance in the body by the brain called serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in our body that helps regulate and alleviate our mood which is also a key factor for combating anxiety and depression.
It Helps Deal with Grief
Undeniably, grief is one the toughest and most complex of all human emotions. It can take a massive toll on a person’s mental health and affect their ability to function normally. Gardening improves mental healthby offering people a therapeutic way to get through the grieving phases of their life and move on from the loss that caused them so much grief in the first place.
Anyone struggling with grief can use gardening as a way to do something with their hands and mind. Getting in touch with nature not only releases feelings of stress but also eliminates grief because nature is believed to help people move on in life by offering new life and putting forth a sense of regeneration.
The physical activity that comes with gardening also gives a major boost to ones mental health since it allows a person to be fully engaged and absorbed in the activity that requires their utmost attention and focus.
It Reduces the Risk of Chronic Illnesses
Researchers and health professionals have predicted that the occurrence of chronic illness will be on an ever-increasing rise, however, recent evidence has suggested that gardening is one way to reduce their symptoms and occurrence to a great extent.
Chronic illnesses are typically defined as those illnesses that have regular symptoms and side effects that extend for a period of more than three months.
Apart from being a form of mental therapy, gardening is also a kind of a low-impact exercise that increases the heart rate and allows significant movement without putting in too much strain. Needless to say, exercising is one of the best ways to eliminate all sorts of physical ailments and it is also the most fulfilling kind of physical activity.
Since chronic illnesses affect both your mental and physical health, gardening is a highly viable option to not just ward off the mental stress that comes with these illnesses but also eliminate the risk of physical strain associated with them.
Flowers and plants have this magical kind of power that can easily alleviate ones mood and release all their stress and tension. They have the ability to make people feel great that significantly helps boost their mental health.
More specifically, gardening improves mental wellbeing because all the acts of digging, pruning and planting provide individuals with a great sense of achievement and also act as a huge source of fresh air.