Nurturing plants, digging up soil, raking grass, and then finally getting a glimpse of the first bloom or fruit of the season can be both exciting and rejuvenating. And other than just being comforting, it also gives a sense of connection with nature and sparks creativity. Moreover, with a stunning patio, homegrown veggies, and fresh herbs, it has utility as well. But the benefits of gardening go beyond this.
Gardening can be extremely therapeutic as it helps keep your thoughts focused, hands busy and gives a sense of responsibility. And with a wide range of colors, textures, and fragrances in your garden, you can stimulate all five senses making it even more relaxing and soothing.
Spending time in your garden can give an instant boost of happiness and joy. Here are some of the many reasons why gardening is so therapeutic and rewarding:
1) Gardening Gets You in Touch with Nature
Albert Einstein said, “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe….” And while we are just a part of the universe, nature is the center of the universe.
This is the reason why human beings have an innate need to affiliate themselves with nature.
Gardening gives you a reason to go out and be in touch with Mother Nature which can be a wholesome experience for many. In a nutshell, gardening can help in fulfilling a human being’s built-in desire.
Being present and living with nature through gardening
Visiting garden-like settings can help your mind relax and unwind. And while people may not have a lot of time to visit places with lush green plants and trees, having a small garden in your backyard can ensure that you stay in touch with nature.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature moreLord Byron
Just observing the various shapes of trees and plants can instantly brighten up your day. Notice the different colored flowers, fruits, veggies, and berries or listen to the humming of insects, the chirping of birds, and the branches swaying in the wind.
You will be able to feel a sense of peace and tranquillity just by staying in touch with nature.
The disconnect with nature can have negative impact
Research also shows that people living in urban settings spend the majority of their time indoors. This causes a disconnection from nature which negatively impacts them.
This is also one of the reasons why human beings do not feel responsible for protecting nature and natural resources.
How to attract nature in your garden
Attracting nature should b relatively easy to do if you have varying plants within your garden. You can look into allotting spaces where animals and nature can safely come into your garden to enjoy or breed. To help you with attracting them, I have created this recent article on 6 ways to attract nature in your garden that you can check. It covers activities that you can do to make your garden more lively, the benefits of doing so, and more.
2) Gardening can be a Mood Booster and Stress Buster
Gardening can help stimulate all five senses, which have physical benefits and offer a myriad of mental and emotional benefits. Spending time on plants is known to elevate mood and reduce stress. It can also help in improving our memory and improve problem-solving skills.
Studies have also found out that gardening can help increase self-esteem, lower anxiety levels, and help those suffering from depression.
This is because the soil is known to have antidepressant properties. Research has found that bacteria found in soil have actually helped activate brain cells responsible for producing serotonin (a feel-good chemical).
Thus, it should not be surprising that gardening is used as therapy in different parts of the world.
Visit your garden or stare at nature to be grounded
So, whenever you feel anxious, you can walk around on the grass or even dirt barefoot. This is known as “grounding” or “earthing,” which is a process that helps you stay connected to the earth and also produces positive energy in your mind and body.
This simple activity can be extremely uplifting and soothing. The Japanese expression “shinrin-yoku” translates to “Forest bathing,” which refers to enjoying a mindful walk in the woods. This is also known to clear up the mind, improve sleep, boost mood, and even reduce health-related issues.
3) Gardening provides a Visual Treat
As mentioned earlier, gardening engages all five of your sense. And the first one is sight. Usually, gardens have a visual appeal that has the potential of soothing your mind and body.
While having a wide range of plants and trees can enhance the aesthetic appeal, it will also attract wildlife into your garden.
This is just one step towards a sensory garden. And since a sensory garden can be a lot more therapeutic, you should have a sensory-oriented plant selection, including flowers, berries, herbs, and veggies.
Things to do to add visual appeal to your garden through gardening
It would help if you also dedicated a place for a fountain or pond. With this, you will be able to build a garden that is not only visually pleasing but is also fragrant, olfactive, and tactile.
You can also play around with plant placements. You can make it look a lot more organized, or you can create patterns that are comforting to your eyes.
Also, creating defined paths in the garden can not only make it look a lot tidier, but it can also encourage you to visit the garden more often.
4) Gardening Cleanses the Space
As we all know, plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen by-products through their respiratory and photosynthetic processes.
Plants can absorb certain chemicals, bacteria, or harmful elements floating in the air.
Also, the roots of plants can take in damaging chemicals in the soil. Thus, gardening can help keep the air as well as the soil clean.
Gardening not only declutters space but also our mind
Besides just cleansing your surroundings, greenery offers a sublime beauty that can also declutter your mind and offer a sense of well-being. And while gardening will make your hands dirty, it will definitely cleanse your mind.
5) Gardening is a Fun Way to Exercise
Gardening is an exciting way to include physical activities in your routine. For someone leading a sedentary lifestyle, gardening can be quite beneficial. It is something that people from every age group must participate in.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.Alfred Austin
Gardening requires a wide range of motor skills as you need to walk around, bend down, dig the soil, plant the seeds, prune the plants. This can help improve aerobic endurance, strength, muscle mass, mobility, and flexibility.
Thus, it is a great activity, especially for kids and older people.
The many benefits of being active through gardening
Moreover, gardening can also have caloric benefits. Since raking, mowing, and digging can be quite effective in burning calories, it can help people dealing with obesity.
And since the tasks are quite diverse, there are also fewer repetitive movements making it more stimulating. Not to mention, spending time outdoors can increase your Vitamin D intake, which is a vital nutrient for almost every organ in the human body.
6) Gardening Encourages Healthy Eating Habits
One of the most substantial benefits of building a garden is to enjoy the tastiest, healthiest, and freshest foods. It is quite exciting to eat food they have just harvested all by themselves.
Since there is already a visceral drive, one does not need further motivation to eat organic and healthy veggies. This is because you have put a lot of care into the garden.
Growing your own food in your garden makes you feel more connected with the garden
Moreover, this is another way to feel connected with nature. By consuming edible and homegrown, we can build a relationship with the plot of ground we are nurturing.
While growing plants, it is quite common to feel like a parent. Right from sowing the seeds to harvesting fresh and healthy yields, you build a connection with them. Maybe this is the reason they call it a ‘nursery.’
Benefits to growing your own produce in your garden
Other than this, consuming locally produced vegetables can also help in reducing your carbon footprint.
On average, fresh produce needs to travel around 1500 miles to reach your local food store, which consumes several natural resources, increasing your carbon footprint.
However, fresh vegetables go straight to your mouth or plate. To ensure that you have the entire lowdown on vegetable gardening and growing, check this recent article of mine on why grow vegetables – wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy them. It covers the benefits of vegetable gardening, the money savings statistics once you do so, and ways to start them at home.
With this, you can make a sustainable choice. And for an environmentalist, this is just one of the many perks of gardening. What could be more therapeutic than knowing you protect the environment while also consuming fresh and healthy produce!
What Are the Different Types of Therapy Gardens?
Gardening involves various activities, and each activity has its own benefits. And a therapy garden can help focus on one activity to address a particular issue. Recently, therapy gardens have gained the interest of health experts.
What is a therapy garden?
A therapy garden is essentially a dedicated garden space designed to enhance one’s mental and physical well-being. There are commonly five different types of therapy gardens:
Restorative Therapy Garden
As the name indicates, restorative therapy gardens help focus on restoring peace.
Whether someone needs a place to meditate, reflect, contemplate, or spend some time out in fresh air, restorative therapy gardens can be a great option.
Inspired by the Japanese zen garden, it promotes mental well-being. One should include fragrant flowers that offer a soothing aroma and also make it quite eye-pleasing.
Rehabilitative therapy Garden
While restorative therapy gardens focus on mental well-being, rehabilitative therapy gardens promote physical fitness. These are designed in a way that offers easy access to everyone.
A setting like this helps patients and the elderly tend to plants that can accelerate their recovery.
With the help of horticultural therapy, a healing garden can help cure an individual.
By incorporating fragrant and vibrant plants along with water features, the healing garden can help with emotional, mental, and physical healing.
There are also therapists assisting people and encouraging them to participate in various gardening activities.
Enabling therapeutic gardens can help an individual significantly after a severe injury or a traumatic event. Promoting participation in gardening activities can improve confidence, restore mental peace, and even provide physical strength, endurance, and coordination.
Moreover, carrying our routine gardening activities can bring in a feeling of accomplishment, especially for someone who has been a part of a disturbing event or accident.
While gardening is quite therapeutic, some certain plants and herbs are known for their therapeutic benefits. These offer peaceful environs making it easier for you to meditate and contemplate.
Meditative gardens offer you a peaceful and tranquil environment specifically designed to restore and rejuvenate emotional and psychological balance.
These gardens are quite beneficial for veterans suffering from PTSD or victims of violence or loss.
Conclusion on why is gardening so therapeutic
So, whether you have a small patch of land, a window box, or a huge backyard, using it for gardening can turn out to be extremely refreshing and calming.
Apart from the therapeutic potential of gardening, it also gives you a chance to grow fresh and healthy veggies, witness the beauty of nature, and promote better mental and physical well-being. With so many benefits and absolutely no drawbacks, gardening is something that everyone should try!
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