Horticulture and Gardening
Gardening is beneficial for mental health and wellbeing: Studies have found that the mental health benefits of gardening are extensive. Not only can regular gardening reduce mental health problems like depression and anxiety, but it can also reduce stress and combat high blood pressure, as well as improving overall physical fitness.
Growing plants gives us responsibility - Having a living thing to care for gives us a sense of responsibility. If we do not prune, water or otherwise care for the plant, it may die. The responsibility is beneficial for people suffering with mental health issues, as it gives them purpose and a sense of worth.
Gardening connects us with nature - In our increasingly urbanised and technologically driven world, reconnecting with nature can have a huge impact on mental health. Studies have found that spending time in green spaces helps people to destress and relax. It also helps people to feel more at one with the world and overcome feelings of self-absorption that can worsen mental health issues.
It encourages us to live in the moment - Anxiety worsens when a person focuses on the past or spends too much time worrying about the future. Being in and around the ever-changing cycle of nature helps us to appreciate the everyday and focus on the “now”. Gardening helps us to feel more in tune with the seasonal changes as the garden develops with each passing week.
It is a good way to vent anger and frustration - Bad day at work? Grab a shovel and get digging. Or better yet pick up the garden shears and take it out on those brambles hiding in the hedge. Certain aspects of gardening – cutting, chopping, hacking and digging are great ways to vent some fury, and you will have something to show for it afterwards. Destructiveness in the garden is a good thing, as it prevents plants from overgrowing and keeps encroaching weeds at bay.
Gardening puts you in control - If you feel like things are getting on top of you, gardening puts you back in control While you may never be able to fully have your life in order, you can decide how to arrange your vegetable patch, and where the sweet peas should creep next. The satisfaction of an orderly garden can be very therapeutic when other aspects of your life are not quite going to plan.
Plants do not judge - For those experiencing conditions such as anxiety or paranoia, going out into a social setting can be frightening. But spending time in the garden does not have the same connotations. Plants can be nurtured and cared for by anyone without passing judgement and keeping plants healthy can improve self-esteem and confidence.
Gardening is great exercise - Research has found that a three to four-hour session of gardening can burn as many calories as an hour at the gym. Exercise releases endorphins – the “happy hormone” which makes people feel satisfied and relaxed. Regular exercise has 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 to sleep better or promoting weight loss, which can boost self-esteem.