May is Mental Health Awareness Month as well as Gifts from the Garden Month, which we here at Nature’s Lawn & Garden do not think is a coincidence at all. Gardening offers us so many opportunities to boost our well-being. Throughout history, gardens have served not only as places to grow plants, but as spaces for people to relax, focus, and connect with nature and each other. More recently, scientific studies have actually demonstrated the beneficial impact nature has on our mental health!
Here are Five Ways Gardening Benefits Your Mental Health:
- Exercise. We all know regular exercise helps to reduce stress by releasing the feel-good chemicals in our brains. Gardening involves plenty of physical activities like bending, lifting, squatting and crouching. Often your whole body gets a workout when working in the garden.
- Refocusing your attention. Every one of us experiences stress, loss, and grief at some time. During these times, gardening gives us an outlet to keep our hands and minds busy. Focusing your attention on the tasks and details of gardening can reduce negative thoughts and feelings and help you feel better in the moment. Gardening puts us in touch with the cycle of life, reminding us that from decay comes rebirth, giving us hope for the future.
- Accepting what we can’t control. For many of us, anxiety can be related to our lack of control over circumstances, or our need for perfection. Gardening forces us to accept that Mother Nature is in charge, no matter how well we plan our gardens: seeds will sprout when they sprout, and not a moment sooner.
- Boosting self esteem. Learning to grow vegetables or flowers gives people a sense of achievement and pride, which boosts self-esteem and confidence. When you take a plot of land and turn it into something beautiful, or something that provides food for you and your family–what’s not to be proud of?
- Community. Spending time in nature can help us connect to each other, as well as to Mother Earth. Gardening with others at a community garden or in a garden club takes teamwork to achieve shared goals. Being part of a larger group can benefit your mental health by increasing your social connections and your support system. A sense of belonging is very important to our mental well-being. For people who are socially isolated or don’t feel comfortable with traditional talk therapy, a community garden can help them make new friends and feel more involved in their community. You can search online for community gardens near you.
How to Bring These Benefits into Your Life
Gardening can make you feel accomplished, but it doesn’t need to be a huge undertaking. Just spending time around plants eases stress for many people. You can bring home some hanging plants for your porch, or start a simple container garden on your patio. Be sure to take care of your plants with our natural and easy to use plant health products like Houseplant Hero. If you’re starting from seed, consider soaking the seeds with Nature’s Magic to improve the germination rate and speed up sprouting.
Gardening gives us the perfect environment to connect with nature and people, stay active, take notice of the moment, keep learning, and give – five paths cited by experts as being essential for positive mental health. Remember, almost every gardener will have difficulties growing and caring for their plants at some point. Learn from your mistakes, and don’t let them keep you from continuing to garden.
Let us help your garden flourish!