Life is pretty hectic so it helps if you can find a hobby that brings calm to your life. Gardening can be enjoyed by everyone, from the young to the old. Let’s find out why it’s such a soothing and rewarding experience.
Why is gardening so therapeutic? When you’re out in nature, surrounded by fresh air and natural sunlight, your body calms itself and better regulate itself. Gardening with fragrant flowers, fresh vegetables, and the buzz of insects can make you focus on the gorgeous world around you.
What makes a garden therapeutic?
While any garden can technically be therapeutic, there are ways you can make your space more calming and enjoyable. Above all else, however, your should adapt your garden to your needs to make it an area that you want to repeatedly enjoy.
Raised garden beds
Having raised garden beds means you don’t have to bend over as much, which is essential for anyone who has back issues or struggles with mobility. You can design your garden beds to be even taller if you need to sit in a wheelchair or use a walker.
How you get to your garden should be a major consideration. Stairs are very limiting and while sloped pathways are a good start, they shouldn’t be too steep.
The pathway should be firm enough that anyone can walk on it and you may also want to look into a railing to hold onto if you are worried about balance.
Gardening should be an immersive experience, which is why involving all your senses will make it more therapeutic. Instead of simply throwing a bunch of plants together, take the time to see what will complement each other.
Calming fragrances, such as lavender are a staple of many therapeutic gardens. You can also include plants such as rosemary or sage which become even more fragrant if you use your hands to crush a few leaves.
Color choices can also make an important visual impact. Pick soothing colors such as pale pinks and purples instead of bolder, more ostentatious varieties.
Reasons why gardening is therapeutic
Exposure to sunlight
While you should wear sunscreen and a hat when you are in your garden, the sun’s rays bring a wealth of benefits to your mood. When sunlight hits your skin, it creates vitamin D, which helps both your mind and your body.
There’s a reason winter can feel like a sad, lonely season. With less exposure to sunlight and less chance for our body to create vitamin D, we can feel more tired, more sluggish, and even depressed.
You don’t need to be in your garden for long periods of time to get the benefit of sunlight. Aim for 15 to 20 minutes in the morning, before the sun gets too hot, and you’ll be able to start the day with more energy and better mental clarity.
A reset with nature
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen? How often are you stuck at home, surrounded by never-ending tasks and stresses?
Humans are meant to be outside and if you don’t have a job that allows you to be outside, you need to make the time, which is why gardening is so therapeutic. It can feel amazing to put down your electronics and get back into nature.
A garden can be a little oasis if you are short on time. If you don’t have the opportunity to go on long walks or hikes, sitting outside in your garden and interacting with your plants can be an easy way to reconnect with the natural world.
There is a reason why flowers are such a common gift among people. Seeing gorgeous blooms can instantly reset and improve your mood.
Having a garden and planning it right means you can have access to the beauty all year long. You can choose what flowers you have always loved and even in the winter, there is beauty in bright, evergreen shrubs.
Your garden can be an extension of yourself so you get to choose what you put in it. Research what does well in your local climate and create your own oasis that will make you want to go outside as much as possible.
Completing a task
There’s no denying that gardening can be an overwhelming activity. This is especially true if you are starting from scratch and need to put a lot of work into it.
But that feeling of satisfaction, when part of your garden is complete, will make it all worthwhile. Knowing that you worked hard, put in your time and effort, and now have amazing results will make you incredibly satisfied.
A welcome routine
Once your garden is planted, maintenance is all about routine. Most people are creatures of habits, so having a routine you enjoy can help you center your mind and create a thrill of what is expected.
As part of your morning routine, you can get up with the sun and pull weeds or pick your vegetables. Then, at night, you can enjoy the twilight hours as you water your plants, all the while being rewarded with the scents from the day.
A Garden for the Senses
When you’re gardening, all of your senses are opened. Not only do you get to smell the fragrant blooms but you also get to feel the dirt on your fingers and taste the results of your hard work.
The sounds of your garden may be subtle but they exist in the buzz of the bees and the whisp of the wind. By focusing on all your senses, you can help calm your mind and enjoy what nature has to offer.
What are the therapeutic effects of planting?
Better mental health
Mental health can be a real struggle for many people and planting can ease a lot of our worries. The repetitive nature of planting along with the fresh air and sunlight can stop ruminating thoughts all while increasing dopamine.
Planting can be a calm, positive experience. It can also allow you to have control over a part of your life, which may make you feel more anchored and better able to tackle other issues you’re dealing with.
Maintain a healthy weight
There are many ways that planting and gardening help you maintain a healthy weight. You will use your body in light activities that won’t put a strain on muscles and joints but will still keep you moving.
What’s more, if you plant a vegetable garden, you then get to eat an amazing combination of healthy foods.
Lessen effects of dementia
As we get older, we can suffer from physical and mental distress, including dementia. Gardening has been shown to help those who suffer from dementia stay more alert and lessen stress.
Gardening can also provide light activity that can help regulate sleep patterns, which is important to maintain overall brain function.
What are the other mental and health benefits of gardening
There has been a rise in mental anxiety lately due to the rise in food prices, supply chain issues, and even climate change. In our attempt to make the world easier, we may have inadvertently made ourselves too reliant on other people for our food.
If you have a garden patch in your backyard, you can ease some of your anxiety. A bit of gardening can create massive yields and if you learn how to preserve your fruits and vegetables, you can have a well-stocked pantry for the rest of the year.
Knowing that you are capable of creating healthy food right in your own yard can decrease feelings of anxiety.
Sharing with others
Sometimes, there can be a fear that our home or our yard is not nice enough to have people over. While good friends shouldn’t be concerned about this, having a lovely, well-tended garden may alleviate these fears.
The nicer your garden is, the more you will want to share it with others. You can invite friends, family, and neighbors over to showcase your hard work and share your meditative place.
There can be a further social advantage if you need help with your garden. You may be surprised how many people will step up to the plate to help with harder tasks and this can create a further sense of kinship with the people in your life.
Bring the outside in
After all your hard work planting, getting to enjoy what you have created is a magical experience. You can try to dedicate part of your garden to cutting flower varieties so that you can bring your gorgeous blooms inside.
Fruit and vegetables are also a staple of many gardens. Whether you simply want to pick a few raspberries while in your garden or want to can a whole batch of pickles, getting to use the results of your garden is great for your mental health.
Anyone who has a garden knows how calm and peaceful it can be. You can adapt your garden to your needs so that it doesn’t have to be a lot of work and instead you can fill it with all your favorite flowers and vegetables.