If you’re looking for a fun and healthy way to lower your stress levels, look no further than gardening! Gardening has been shown to provide a number of mental and physical health benefits, including reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
What are the main physical health benefits of gardening?
My main focus on this blog is mental health, however the fact is that gardening also provides a number of physical health benefits, including:
- Improving heart health: Gardening can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can in turn improve heart health.
- Strengthening bones and muscles: Gardening requires some physical activity, which can help to strengthen bones and muscles.
- Boosting immunity: Gardening can help to increase levels of antibodies and white blood cells, which can boost immunity.
What are the main mental health benefits of gardening?
Gardening can help to relieve stress, anxiety and depression while also promoting positive mental health.
Some of the main mental health benefits of gardening include:
- Reducing stress levels: Gardening has been shown to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increase levels of serotonin (the happy hormone).
- Improving mood: Gardening can help to improve your mood and mental well-being by increasing levels of endorphins (the body’s natural feel-good chemicals).
- Connecting with nature: Research has shown that spending time in nature can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression while also promoting feelings of happiness and well-being. So if you are lucky enough to have a garden, getting outside and enjoying some fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your mental health.
- Boosting self-esteem and confidence: Gardening can help you to feel more accomplished and proud of yourself, which can in turn boost your self-esteem and confidence. As you see your seedlings grow and blossom into beautiful plants, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve!
- Providing a sense of calm and relaxation: Gardening can be a great way to unwind, relax and de-stress. It is a mindful activity that can help to clear your mind and provide a sense of calm.
- An opportunity to get out and meet new people: If you join a gardening club or group, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. This can help to improve your social life and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
If you do not have a garden, tending to plants inside the house has the same mental health benefits. So even if you live in an apartment, you can still reap the benefits of gardening by potting some plants and flowers. In addition, greening up your living space has been shown to improve productivity, concentration and creativity. So it’s a win-win for you and whoever is lucky enough to share your indoor jungle.
Research into the benefits of gardening
In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, University of Florida scientists found that gardening activities lowered stress, anxiety and depression in healthy women who attended twice-weekly gardening classes.
The study found that gardening has therapeutic advantages for markers of depressive symptomatology, perceived stress, and overall mood disturbance in healthy women between the ages of 26 and 49.
After just four weeks of twice-weekly, one-hour sessions, the participants’ psychological outlook had improved after the gardening classes.
In addition, the study showed that gardening in a group enhanced the participating women’s overall quality of life and improved their health, which had already been excellent to start with.
How do you get started gardening?
If you’re new to gardening, it’s best to start small and simple. Start with a few easy-to-grow plants that don’t require too much care. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can gradually add more plants to your garden.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Pick the right spot: Choose a spot in your yard that gets plenty of sunlight.
Prepare the soil: To help your plants grow, it’s important to have rich, loose soil. If you’re not sure about the quality of your soil, you can have it tested.
Choose the right plants: Not all plants are equal when it comes to how easy they are to grow. When you’re starting out, it’s best to choose plants that are known to be low-maintenance.
Get some help: Gardening can be more fun (and successful) if you do it with a friend or family member. Not only will you have someone to help you, but you’ll also have someone to chat with while you garden.
Final thoughts – Gardening is a great stress buster
Now that you know all about the benefits of gardening, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start planting! Your brain (and body) will thank you.