The Benefits of Gardening for Your Mental Health

People may tend to overlook it, but gardening is an excellent way to fight anxiety and depression. While it may seem obvious, researchers have nevertheless conducted studies that uniformly confirm how gardening is beneficial to your mental health. The following examples detail just a few of the myriad of ways in which this simple task relieves the stress that far too often leads to clinical depression.

Provides a Sense of Responsibility

Gardening requires that you be responsible. If you don’t prune or water your plants, they will die. The resulting sense of purpose can be of great benefit to your overall well-being.

Connects You to Nature

We live in an age where seemingly everything is technology-driven. Too many of us don’t spend enough time outdoors when it’s repeatedly been shown how reconnecting with nature helps improve mental health. Studies have demonstrated that people are more relaxed when they are in a green space. Furthermore, gardening helps people overcome their feelings of self-absorption. Self-absorption can worsen mental health issues.

There was a study done in 2003 which involved people who were in prison or resided in a mental health facility. The subjects were asked to garden. The study revealed that people who garden focus more on their collective aspirations and skills instead of their individual deficits.

potato garden

Releases Happy Hormones

Physical and mental health are directly linked. If something is good for your body, it will be good for your mind. Gardening is a fun way to get a little more physical activity into your life. Your body produces more serotonin and dopamine when you garden, both of which help regulate mood.

Your cortisol levels also decrease when you garden. Cortisol is a hormone that raises stress levels. Gardening can be a tiring activity, and as such you will feel a lot better after doing it. You’ll certainly sleep better after a hard afternoon working in the garden, and it’s been well established that proper sleep is essential for your mental well-being.

Helps To Cope with the Stresses of Illnesses

One of the least talked about aspects of living with a chronic illness like cancer, infertility, or disabilities is the mental and emotional toll it takes on your life. Long-term diseases are often isolating and lead to depression and anxiety which further compounds existing health problems. Gardening has been shown to be a great relief to those suffering from these types of issues.

Gardening allows you to take your mind off of these challenging and stressful ordeals. Studies have shown that being able to nurture something when you are in low health is helpful to your mental fortitude. Plus, spending time in the sun and getting some fresh air are only beneficial when it comes to lifting a low mood.

Plants Don’t Judge You

Anyone who suffers from anxiety or depression knows that it can be difficult to go out in public sometimes. However, it’s a lot less difficult to spend time in nature. You can care for and nurture plants, and they won’t suddenly turn around and judge you. Fair or not, for many people there tends to be a stigma associated with mental illness, and as such those who suffer from anxiety and depression constantly feel like they are being judged.

You will feel a sense of accomplishment when you keep your plants healthy. This can only boost your self-esteem.

Live in the Moment

Anxiety and depression are worsened when a person focuses too much on the past and worries too much about the future. Gardening allows you to live in the moment and appreciate the simple things. You will be able to smell, touch and see the beauty of nature.

Vent Your Frustration and Anger

If you’ve had a bad day, spend some time in your garden and you’ll soon forget about it. The digging, cutting and chopping will also allow you to release your frustration and anger. Plus, later on you’ll be able to enjoy the results of all your hard work.

Puts You in Control

Many people who suffer anxiety and depression feel like too many crucial things are out of their control. But gardening enables people to have control over something that’s important to them. For example, you control how your flowers and vegetables are arranged. An orderly garden can make you feel better even when things aren’t going as well as you’d like. If you feel that you would benefit from talking to someone about your mental health, reach out to BetterHelp’s licensed professionals today and see how they can help support you in your mental health journey.