Gardening is an activity enjoyed by millions of people, but it’s more than just a way to pass the time — it can have significant benefits for your physical and mental health.
But how does this work? What exactly are these wellbeing benefits — and why does gardening have such a positive effect on people’s mental health? In our latest post we outline some of the great reasons why gardening is so good for your wellbeing.
It keeps you active
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels and boost your mental state. It releases ‘happy’ hormones such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, all of which help to regulate your mood and make you feel more positive. And it can help you to sleep better and improve your appetite — two things that can really suffer when you’re stressed or anxious.
Gardening is a great way to get yourself moving, without the pressure of going for a run or heading to the gym.
Whether you’re pulling up weeds, digging flower beds, raking leaves, or mowing the lawn, it’s all movement that can be just as effective as a workout. It can give you the same mental boost as other exercises, and helps with your physical fitness as well — toning your muscles and building up strength, which in turn can make you feel more positive.
Gardening encourages mindfulness
Just getting outside in the garden is good for your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health. Gardening can take up your whole focus — encouraging you to be present and aware of exactly what you’re doing at that moment.
It’s a good way to tune out all the other worries and concerns you might have about things that have happened or might happen in the future. Instead, it lets you focus on what you can control at that time — your garden.
This act of being present in the moment is known as ‘mindfulness’. Mindfulness is a useful tool in reducing stress levels and looking after your mental health. Learning how to adjust the way that you think gives you more control so that you don’t dwell on negative thoughts. This is an important part of managing stress and anxiety.
You get a sense of achievement
When you’re planting seeds and bulbs and watching them grow into fully-fledged plants, it can give you a real sense of achievement. Even just remembering to water your houseplants regularly and keeping them alive is something positive that you can focus on.
Gardening is something you can invest time and energy into and watch the results grow before your eyes. There are no deadlines or targets, so there’s no real pressure, but you can learn how to nurture and grow things, which helps boost your mental state.
It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes
Of course, a green, well-kept garden full of beautiful flowers all year round would be ideal — but gardening isn’t just about the end result. It’s a constant learning process, where you can make mistakes without any real consequences.
You can try growing a range of different plants, learn what works in different positions, and how to care for them so that they thrive. But at the end of the day, if you end up with some plants that don’t do so well, your flowerbeds become overcrowded, or weeds take over, it’s not the end of the world.
There’s no need to stress about gardening ‘the right way’. You can follow some beginner’s gardening tips, and do your best to provide the right environment and care for your plants. But then it’s up to nature — and learning to accept that can help you to worry less about things you can’t control. Plus, the feeling that you’re constantly learning and improving can be really good for your wellbeing.
You can build connections
Gardening is something that you can do on your own for your own space. But it can also be an amazing way to build connections with other people in your local community.
It’s something that you can talk about with your neighbours — or you can get involved with a local community garden, join a shared allotment, or become part of a gardening group in your area.
From sharing growing tips and plant recommendations to seeking out landscaping advice, there’s plenty of ways to start a conversation. Getting involved and building relationships with other gardeners is a really good way to feel more positive and connected.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your wellbeing, then gardening is a great option. It can help you to be more focused and mindful, boost your physical health, and make you feel more connected with your local community. So what are you waiting for? There’s never been a better time to embrace your inner gardener and let gardening benefit your body and mind.