Guest Post: Ten Benefits of Gardening For Your Mental Health

Food + Nutrition

My garden is my sanctuary – I spend hours planning it out with my son in the early Spring, planting and then tending to it as it grows and thrives. We enjoy eating tons of fruits and veggies harvested from our soil and beautiful flowers in vases that started as tiny seeds not that long ago. I relish the time in my garden for the peace it brings me along with the sense of joy and accomplishment. As such, I was thrilled when Sydney Gardeners offered to write about one of my favorite topics: the emotional benefits of gardening. I can personally attest to the tranquility gained from gardening, along with the exercise and healthy eating benefits!

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10 benefits of gardening on your mental health

Research indicated that spending time outside is good for our physical and mental health. It’s a benefit I’m sure we have all felt. A great way to spend time outside is in your garden. Gardening is a great way to relieve stress, get your hands dirty and exercise all in one. Being part of nature and growing a garden has significant benefits for your physical and mental health. 

1. Stress

A great benefit of gardening for mental health is its ability to relieve stress. Working in your garden has been proven to reduce stress, in fact something as small as having a plant on your desk can reduce stress levels significantly. 

2. Promotes exercise 

Gardening can be largely enjoyable and also an excellent way to exercise. In current times, it’s the perfect hobby to get into. If you don’t have a yard to garden, balcony gardens are also a great option. Not only does gardening make you feel a sense of accomplishment. It keeps your active and engaged with nature. Whilst it may sometimes seem like a chore, its benefit to your mental wellbeing is second to none. 

3. Reduces screen time 

With constant technical bombardment, when do we get a break from it all? Physical actives are great to reduce screen time and gardening is the perfect escape. Simple activates such a turning over soil or mulching, can be labour intensive and help relive the anxieties of the modern world.

4. Encourages healthy eating 

One thing I’ve noticed from starting to grow produce is the appreciation for well grown veggies. Growing your own veggies gives you an appreciation for organically produced crops, next thing you know you will be at the local organic market. Growing some of your own food is also simple and herbs are always an easy choice. Not only is it satisfying, gardening is a contributing factor to a number of mentally stimulating activates and is a great way to in enhance cognitive ability.

5. Improves concentration and creative thinking

Individual concentration is at an all-time low and only seems to be falling. If you wish to improve concertation or know someone that does, your garden is an excellent place to start. Gardening well, demands a prolonged attention span and ability to focus on detail. When gardening I often think of different ways things could be done and through this process can up with the idea of reusing plastic in your garden. Additionally, if you are often frustrated or angry, a simple therapeutic exercise like mowing the lawn or weeding out the garden beds is a perfect solution. Long term gardening can have lasting impacts on an individual’s mood. If you often have a temper, research suggests working on your property can reduce triggers, as it leads to fulfilment and accomplishment.

6. Staying present

Gardening is something that makes the hours fly by. This doesn’t mean that some tasks aren’t strenuous, but in general the therapeutic nature of gardening causes deeper thought processes and means individuals are more likely to stay in the present and put aside worries, this may only be temporary but something we can all benefit from.

7. Finding a sense of purpose

Another great benefit of caring for things such as your pets or your garden is you achieve a great sense of pride and purpose. When you are directly involved with something and watch it grow, there is an enormous sense of pride that goes along with this. In fact, studies show that gardening causes an increase in feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin, as helping plants grow stimulates our identity as nurturers.

8. Boosts your immune system 

Gardening gives you a healthy dose of vitamin D and also increases your calcium levels. Getting your hands dirty is also a great way to boost your immune system.

9. Stops perfectionist tendencies 

There’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist but often it can come at a cost. Gardening is a perfect solution for this as the lack of control you have during the growth of the plant allows you to step back and enjoy the process. Regardless of how planned out a garden, factors that you can’t predict can occur which will help reduce tendencies for perfection.

10. Protects your memory

Exercise improves cognitive ability; gardening activities can result in growth in your brain’s memory-related nerves. This is especially important as you begin to grow older and a great reason to pick up gardening if you haven’t already. 

Tristan is a writer from Sydney Gardeners and is passionate about sustainability and the environment. His passion has grown from his experience working in nature. You can view more of his works here.

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