Gardening has many surprising benefits for our physical and mental health that are too often neglected.
Nature has been a source of survival and belonging for humans since ancient times, and it is, therefore, no surprise that gardening has many benefits on physical and mental health—and much more.
The natural environment is a place for humans to relax and loosen up, to find peace and tranquility while taking a break from the busy and fast-paced world. It provides mental clarity, helps us connect with the self, nature, and others. It can — or perhaps should — be a source of bottomless pleasure and gratitude.
Gardening is an activity that consists of planting, growing, and cultivating different types of flora, be they flowers, trees, herbs, root vegetables, or fruits. Besides their pleasant aesthetic, all these plants have great use and benefits in our life. We use them to make food, build and design our shelters, and produce medicine.
Cultivating plant life can be a very long and enjoyable process. However, the labor intensity depends on each plant and type of gardening, from farming to forestry to a small vegetable or flower garden.
Whether you are flower-planting or food-gardening in a small patio planter, backyard vegetable garden, or community garden, we cannot overstate the benefits of gardening on our mental and physical health.
Gardening can also be a great, productive hobby. You can turn to it to spend your time when bored, and chances are it will lift your spirits and enliven the rest of your day. It is an activity to enjoy individually or in others’ company. In both cases, gardening provides us with opportunities for socializing, while helping us adopt healthy habits or a better lifestyle.
Learning more about the physical and mental health benefits of gardening can encourage and motivate you to embrace the practice. These are the top and best-known health benefits of the relaxing activity.
Growing your own vegetable garden will help you consume freshers and healthier food, including vegetables, fruits, and herbs, untouched by any toxic chemicals or pesticides. Overall, gardening can encourage you to change your diet and adopt a healthier one that will benefit your physical and mental health.
Gardening also promotes a diet that urges the consumption of whole foods and greens, rather than processed food. In addition, growing your own vegetables and fruits can encourage you to cook meals at home and choose healthier ingredients.
There are also certain food products and herbs that you can grow to help enhance your mental health and boost your mood. These include asparagus with a high level of folate; berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and gooseberries that have important vitamins and antioxidants; and other nutrition-packed options such as spinach, kale, turmeric, and chamomile.
Stress and anxiety management
Amid our burnout generation’s struggle to cope with dizzying technological transformations and non-stop working hours, people are increasingly looking for ways to help them manage their stress, escape, and rejuvenate and relax.
Gardening is a practice that allows you to feel more connected to nature by growing and caring for it. A relaxing and quiet environment will let you tune out everything else and just enjoy the warm sun and nature. According to studies, this means gardening can benefit your mental health by minimizing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
By indulging in gardening, you let yourself concentrate on the task at hand instead of worrying about other issues or problems in your life. This helps you unwind, relax, and feel less stressed and anxious, which can also give you a clear mindset once you do want to tackle your problems.
Strengthen physical health
Some of the important consequences of gardening are its physical health benefits. Exposure to the sun for half an hour or more can feed your body enough vitamin D for an entire day. This nutrient is responsible for several essential body functions.
A lack of vitamin D can cause health issues including metabolic syndromes, type II diabetes, dementia, and psoriasis flares while exposed to sunlight. Getting enough of the vitamin can strengthen your bones and immune system, and also lower risks of several cancers including breast cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and others.
While gardening, your body also benefits from regular moderate to vigorous exercise from raking, cutting grass, shoveling, digging, and hauling soil. These activities will have a great impact on your health by burning calories, controlling blood pressure, lowering the risk of dementia, and strengthening the heart.
There is a friendly bacteria that usually live in the soil which you absorb by inhalation while gardening or ingesting vegetables and herbs. This gardening perk can actually benefit both your physical and mental health, increasing levels of serotonin, reducing anxiety, and minimizing symptoms of psoriasis, allergies, and asthma.
With its many physical health benefits, gardening is also bound to help boost our mental state. Being surrounded by nature and carefully nurturing plant life, as well as immersing yourself amid pleasant views and beautiful smells, can be very satisfying for our senses.
Gardening regularly and following through with the process of growing a plant can also increase confidence, self-esteem, and create a sense of accomplishment. This can lower feelings of anxiety and depression and cheer us up.
To boost your mood even more you can make a small setting in your garden, no matter if it is small or big, to relax after gardening or take a break from a busy day for some peace of mind. Such as space will allow you to enjoy the green nature surrounding you, just remember to drink plenty of water.
Self and social connection
In a hectic world, people often prioritize socializing, staying connected with others, and rarely find time to do activities alone. However, indulging in activities alone without the distraction of the outside world can help reduce stress and boost your productivity and creativity.
Solo gardening gives you the opportunity for some alone time, where you can process your thoughts and emotions without the influence of others. It is also a chance to think about the important things in life, your aspirations, and what makes you happy.
Besides the mental health benefits of practicing it alone, gardening can also be great to do with others from time to time. Joining a community garden will help you connect and socialize with new people that share the same interest.
You can also encourage your friends and family to join you in gardening to benefit from all the health advantages that come with the relaxing activity, as well as to build your relationships with others.
Gardening is not only an opportunity to care for and protect our natural environment, but a chance to eat well, strengthen our health, benefit our mental well-being, and connect with others. Learning more about gardening’s benefits on your body and soul will encourage you to indulge in the activity for a better lifestyle long-term.