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We all know that it feels good to go outside and get fresh air, but did you know that gardening has proven mental health benefits? Research shows that gardening is good for your physical and psychological health. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are common mental health conditions that many people face. Anxiety disorders affect roughly 18% of the adult population in the United States, whereas Major Depressive Disorder or MDD affects about 6.7%. Here are some ways that gardening can help you with your mental health, whether you have a diagnosable condition or not.
Gardening releases neurotransmitters that make you happier
The physical activity affiliated with doing work outdoors, including gardening, releases neurotransmitters that boost your mood. Additionally, gardening allows you to be creative. You can design your garden in any way that you want. Maybe, you like flowers of a particular color, for example. Creative activities, particularly those with repetitive motions, such as gardening, knitting, or drawing, are calming. Both art and physical movement release dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter and hormone affiliated with happiness, so think of gardening as a two-in-one hit when it comes to improving the way you feel. Have fun with it; you can choose a theme for your garden and plant things with “happy colors” like yellow, or you can plant fresh food that you’ll have fun harvesting later on. If you have kids, you can even involve them in the process of gardening or picking the food that you planted. An added benefit of gardening, if you decide to plant crops like carrots, leafy greens, or berries, is that you’ll have nutrient-dense foods right at your fingertips.
It relieves stress
Maybe, you don’t have an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder, but you find yourself stressed out regularly. Stress is something that we all face, but excessive stress has negative health consequences such as a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, GI issues, and memory problems. It also puts you at a higher risk of developing Depression or Anxiety. All of these potential consequences are a great reason to take steps toward stress reduction, and one of them could be gardening. Gardening relieves stress because it gives you an outlet. Again, it’s a fantastic low-impact physical activity to engage in, and it allows you to express your artistic side. It is also beneficial because it gives you a place to direct your focus. Gardening can be somewhat meditative. You can get lost in the zone when you’re focused on your plants and leave the stress of the day behind you.
It helps you connect with nature
Starting a garden can help you feel more connected to nature. Studies show that people who connect to natural surroundings are happier, but what if you aren’t able to build a garden? Don’t despair. Many areas have community gardens where you can sign up to have your section to plant things in, and if that’s not an option for you, indoor plants are also beneficial for your health. Studies show that indoor plants can have a soothing effect. It’s said that indoor plants increase your ability to concentrate and can even make you more productive. Having plants gives you something to take care of, and taking care of your plants can make you feel a sense of success and empowerment. In that sense, plants are kind of like pets, but with a lot less commitment. It’s fun to watch them grow and to integrate watering and caring for your plants into your routine.
Other ways to help your mental health
When you struggle with depression or an anxiety disorder, it’s essential to seek professional help. Gardening is a great way to promote mental and physical wellness, but it is not a substitute for mental health treatment in those who need it, so for those with a mental illness or those who show signs of a mental illness, it is better to integrate it as a part of your treatment rather than relying on it entirely. You can find a therapist in your local area, or you can search for one that practices online. Online therapy is excellent for people who are busy, or who live in remote areas with low access to specialists, or mental health professionals altogether. It’s crucial to get emotional support and guidance. Online counseling can be an excellent resource for both things.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.