There are many reasons why gardening is a great way to improve your mental health and well-being:
- Taking care of your body is an important part of caring for your mind. Gardening is a moderate form of exercise, and as such increases the amount of feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine in the body, and decreases the level of the stress- related hormone cortisol. (Source)
- Diet is also an important factor of mental well-being, and you can’t grow unhealthy food! Furthermore, children who help grow their own food consume more vegetables. (Source)
- Spending time in a natural environment helps us to feel less stressed, reduces symptoms of depression and enhances concentration and attention, allowing us to recover from mental fatigue. (Source)
- The regular, scheduled activity of caring for plants can provide a routine for those who are depressed. (Source)
- Studies indicate that a type of bacteria in the soil may provide antidepressant effects and decrease anxiety. (Source)
- Gardens are a great place for meditation and contemplation.
Horticultural therapy and therapeutic horticulture are also great ways to improve the quality of life for people living with mental illness. Two studies on the use of therapeutic horticulture for patients with depression found that the severity of the patients’s depression declined significantly and remained low at a 3-month follow-up.
Both the act of gardening and just spending time in a garden are beneficial for the mind and body, so this Mental Health Month, love yourself and start a garden!
Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/about-us/research-projects/statistics-and-references
Hearth & Vine https://hearthandvine.com/gardening-mental-health/
Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/worry-and-panic/201505/petal-power-why-is-gardening-so-good-our-mental-health
San Diego Psychiatrist sandiegopsychiatrist.com/horticultural-therapy-for-anxiety-and-depression
The Conversation http://theconversation.com/the-science-is-in-gardening-is-good-for-you-65251
The Conversation https://theconversation.com/why-gardening-is-good-for-your-mind-as-well-as-your-body-50094