TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – The spring season has arrived, which means that you can get an opportunity to go outside and enjoy some fresh air.
Your mental health will certainly benefit from this. Experiencing nature and spending time outside can improve mental well-being, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Several studies have demonstrated that contact with nature reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
However, what if you don’t have the time or the resources to go hiking and camping? Perhaps you don’t live in a scenic area. Did you know there is a way to bring the outdoors into your home, with the same benefits as being in nature? Yes, gardening is one way to do it.
Having a garden is a fun and rewarding hobby that has many mental health benefits. The following are just ten of the benefits:
1. GARDENING GIVES YOU A SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
Giving yourself a sense of accomplishment through gardening is a great way to feel good about yourself. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the results of your fruits of labour. Taking pride in what you have accomplished can make you feel good about yourself.
Setting garden goals is easy – whether it’s adding drip irrigation to your sprinkler system or pruning some overgrown trees, you will feel great when the job is done. While both jobs mentioned might be difficult, the emotional rewards are more than enough to motivate you to complete them.
In addition to improving your mental health, this can enhance your self-confidence and regain your enthusiasm if your confidence has waned over the winter. Winter can be depressing due to the lack of sunlight and shorter days. Planting a garden in the spring can give you a boost of energy.
2. GARDENING REDUCES STRESS
The moment you step outside into fresh air and breathe in deeply, your body relaxes. The experience induces a sense of relaxation and well-being. You can experience the same feeling by gardening. You can release tension through physical activities by allowing pent-up negative energy to be channeled into something positive. In addition to taking your mind off whatever is stressful, gardening also requires you to focus on what you are doing.
3. GARDENING BOOSTS YOUR MOOD
Having a garden can also boost your mood. According to studies, people who garden have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When you are exposed to sunlight, you can also increase your serotonin levels, the “happy hormone”.
You are less likely to develop anxiety and depression when you have a lighter mood. Your outlook on life can also improve when you have a lighter mood.
4. GARDENING GIVES YOU A SENSE OF PURPOSE
You can gain a sense of purpose from gardening. Having a specific goal in mind, such as growing a particular plant or vegetable, can motivate you.
As a result, your mind will remain active and engaged. This becomes even more important as we age and our mental faculties begin to decline.
5. GARDENING INCREASES YOUR EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT
Increasing your exposure to sunlight can be achieved through gardening, as we’ve discussed before. Medical researchers have proven that sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is beneficial for a variety of reasons, among them, regulating mood. Studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with depression.
6. GARDENING IMPROVES YOUR SLEEP
Sleeping better can also be achieved by gardening. The physical exertion in the garden tires your muscles so you can sleep more deeply and fall asleep faster. Due to gardening’s ability to reduce anxiety and stress, you are less likely to have negative thoughts that keep you up at night. In addition, the increased sunlight exposure in the garden helps to promote melatonin production, a hormone that aids in sleep regulation.
Regularly getting enough restful sleep can significantly improve your mental health and cognitive function. Getting enough sleep is associated with increased creativity, improved problem-solving skills, and reduced depression risk.
7. GARDENING INCREASES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Exercise can be achieved through gardening. It doesn’t matter if you are only weeding or planting, you’ll still be able to access several physical and mental health benefits from gardening. Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly engage in physical activities like gardening experience better mental health and emotional stability. Furthermore, they are less likely to experience common mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
As previously mentioned, regular physical activity can also help you sleep better and reduce stress. When you regularly engage in these behaviors, your mental health can directly improve over time.
8. GARDENING CONNECTS YOU WITH NATURE
Gardening can help you connect with nature. If you live in an urban area with few natural landscapes, this is especially important. Gardening is an environment that is comfortable, controlled, and safe for you to interact with nature. As a result, stress and anxiety can be reduced, while your mood can improve.
In addition to peace and tranquility, being in the garden can also be relaxing. Many nursing care facilities use gardening as a therapeutic activity to help patients relax.
9. GARDENING CONNECTS YOU WITH OTHER PEOPLE
Connecting with others can also be achieved through gardening. A gardening project with a friend or family member can be a great way to build stronger bonds.
Gardening is also a great strategy to meet new people. Working in a community garden, for example, will likely lead you to meet others interested in gardening in your area. Isolation and loneliness are factors that contribute to mental health problems, so this can help to reduce these factors.
10. GARDENING HELPS YOU TO APPRECIATE THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE
You can appreciate the little things in life by gardening. During gardening, you are more likely to slow down and become aware of things you normally wouldn’t notice. Among these things are the smell of the flowers, the sound of the bees, or the touch of the dirt on your hands. As a result of these increased moments of awareness, you will learn to appreciate the simple things in life and develop a more positive outlook.
Gardening can help you improve your mental well-being. It can alleviate stress and anxiety and improve your mood. In addition, it can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. If you wish to improve your mental health in a simple, cost-effective way, consider starting a small home garden.