Many green-fingered people spend time gardening because, alongside enjoying it, they want a garden that they are proud to show off due to it being tidy, colorful and aesthetically pleasing.
But there are also many benefits to gardening, not just for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. A study has found that just 30 minutes a week can improve mood and self-esteem as well as physical fitness.
Nature has long been known for its relaxing qualities, a place for finding peace and tranquility, but the benefits that you get from gardening can work towards preventing everything from coronary disease to colon cancer.
Here are six ways that gardening can protect your mental health (and as a result your overall health), which may have you searching the internet for plants and tools like best pole saw from the likes of this online garden centre in Peterborough.
- Improves mood and self esteem
Spending time just pottering around in your garden, perhaps digging, weeding or planting new flowers, improves your mood and self-esteem, by dissolving tension, depression, anger and confusion.
- Healthy body, healthy mind
Those who spend time gardening are in better physical shape – as it can involve walking, bending, stretching and reaching.
It can help with flexibility and mobility for those less able, helping to stave off debilitating conditions. Weight bearing tasks such as pushing a wheelbarrow or lifting pots, can help to strengthen muscles and bones, and are good for your heart and blood flow.
What is good for the body is good for the mind and those with better physical health feel better overall – therefore it is a form of mentally exercising.
When we exercise levels of serotonin and dopamine (that makes us feel good) rise and levels of cortisol (that make us feel stressed) are lowered.
- Stress relief
Some aspects of gardening allow us to vent anger and aggression – whilst doing a worthwhile job. Digging soil, raking the leaves and cutting back bushes will all allow you to vent some frustration and therefore relieve any stress that you are feeling.
You don’t have to take your frustration out on the garden to relieve stress, for many the peacefulness of it allows you to feel relaxed and just let go. It enables you to escape from people, but have a task to focus on – without worrying about bills or deadlines.
- Sense of purpose and achievement
Gardening gives you a sense of purpose as you need to tend to it. If you don’t your plants will wilt and die, your grass will become over-grown and your hedges will take over any space you have. That space and everything in it relies on you tending to the soil, watering, feeding and pruning in order to both survive and thrive.
Seeing a garden full of vegetables and brightly colored plants and flowers, that you have grown from a packet of seeds will give you a sense of achievement.
- Being outside ‘at one with nature’
Just being outside, particularly in the spring and summer months when the sun is shining, the birds are tweeting and the leaves are blowing gently in the wind, will make you mind feel clear and happier.
It will also make you feel more relaxed which, mixed with the fresh air and physical excursion, will enable you to get a good night’s sleep – which can be the cause of much of the stress that can affect your mental health.
- Reduce feelings of isolation or exclusion
Gardening can reduce feelings of isolation, as this may take place at your local allotment or you may spark up a conversation with your neighbor who is gardening at the same time.
It is also perfect for starting a conversation with like-minded people, at the garden center perhaps.