4 Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening
Written by
Aimee Howard
July 2016
Written by
Aimee Howard
July 2016

In a consumerist and overwhelming world, it seems like we lost our connection with nature.  With our busy schedules and fast-moving lives, stress can easily build up and affect both our mental and physical health. Reconnecting with the environment can help our troubled minds.

Horticulture therapy incorporates the benefits gardening and plant-based activities as a treatment of addiction, depression and anxiety. Whether it is the visual aesthetics of a plant that induce feelings of inner peace and life appreciation or the direct contact with the greenery and soil, taking up gardening as a hobby can improve both your mood and your health in a number of ways. 

Provides Physical Activity

There is evidence that there is a link between the physical and mental health.  For example, poor physical health can considerably influence our psychological well-being and even lead to depression. Reversely, poor mental health can affect negatively your physical health. Gardening provides plenty of activities that may not only prevent obesity, heart diseases, arthritis and diabetes, but can also improve your mood. According to some researches, regular exercise can help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Physical activities release feel-good brain chemicals in the body such as endorphins, endocannabinoids and neurotransmitters. Furthermore, tasks like weeding and digging increase the body temperature, which can have a calming effect.

In addition, gardening allows you to spend more time outdoors, which means more fresh air and sunshine. Exposure to sun increases the levels of serotonin, responsible for keeping our brain balanced. It also stimulates the production of melatonin that has a direct effect on our moods.

Boost Your Self-Esteem

When carried out in an uncompetitive manner, gardening can lead to feelings of success and achievement. Overcoming challenges and meeting goals, even small ones, can make you feel better about yourself. Simply fulfilling a certain task can evoke contentment and relaxation. Garden maintenance is associated with improving a person’s overall well-being. Plus, getting in shape will give you an extra confidence boost. 

One of the best things about working in the garden is that it doesn’t feel like an exercise, but more as a hobby. However, weeding, planting, watering and digging are repetitive activities that require certain strength and can have similar effect as working out.

Promotes Social Inclusion

Working in the garden encourages positive social interactions. Alcohols and drug addicts, as well as disabled are involved in gardening projects. Horticulture therapy provides a way to fill the time taken by the substance abuse and to meet new people via spots like community gardens.  This practice is quickly gaining popularity and more people understand its role in improving the social, physical and spiritual well-being.

Take Your Mind Off Concerns

Gardening provides you with physical and mental escape from the busy and stressful routine. Working in the garden will not only distract you from your problems, but it may also help you come up with a solution.   While you are not thinking about the issues, you provide your brain with time to refresh, which can facilitate finding answers to tricky problems.

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