CrossFit South Rockland

Friday, August 17, 2018

Four Ways Gardening Improves Mental Health

Four Ways Gardening Improves Mental Health

By Jennifer Scott

What if you could improve your mental health just by sticking a seed in the ground and watching it grow? Of course, gardening is not so easy. It takes time and patience to tend to the needs of another living thing. It’s through this cultivation that you learn to separate yourself from the troubles that may surround you and focus instead on simply tending to your flowers, your bushes, your herbs and spices. Here are just a few ways that gardening can benefit your mind.

  1. It’s Relaxing

The first thing you notice when you really get down to the nitty gritty of gardening is just how relaxing it can be. Now, it’s important to make the distinction that gardening isn’t easy work. Being down on your hands and knees in the dirt and soil can be hard. You will sweat out there in the sun, and your hands will grow sore as they toil for hours with tools. It’s hard work, yes, but as you set to work you’ll notice that all of the stress and worry you’ve been carrying around slowly evaporate away with the sweat on the back of your neck. 

Gardening can create a sanctuary for you to escape to. Any anger or frustration that may be plaguing you in daily life will gradually seep from your body like perspiration. There’s an old garden saying, “if you’re angry—take it out on the weeds.” Gardening is practically a form of personalized therapy, a way to separate yourself from your troubles and simply be. 

  1. It Connects You with Nature

In addition to relieving your stress, gardening will also reconnect you with nature. In an increasingly technological world, it’s easy to forget the fundamental relationship we share with nature. By setting aside some time to step outside and be amongst the birds and the bugs, you become reacquainted with the fundamental truths that all living things abide by. Everything needs air, water and room to grow. These rules do not only apply to gardening but can be applied to your own life. In your reunification with nature, you can better understand your own fundamental needs and become better attuned to your own physical and mental well-being.  

  1. It Brings Peace of Mind

It’s important to value your mental well-being. If you spend too much time focused on your profession, making ends meet and keeping up appearances you can slowly forget who you really are. The constant movement of life can be exhausting and leave you lost. If you’re not careful, not spending enough time focused on your own well-being can lead to unhealthy coping and harmful distractions such as drugs or alcohol.

Gardening helps bring back your peace of mind. It places you in the present moment, among the flowerbeds and watering pail. Even though your hands are committed to tending to other living things, your mind is able to focus entirely on itself and what it needs. Gardening will help you feel more like yourself and less like what life demands you to be.

  1. It Adds Meaning to the Small Things

Finally, gardening will push you to focus on things much smaller than yourself. You will inevitably become deeply invested in how your garden grows. It will feel like each plant has its own unique personality, and you will learn to appreciate each hurdle you had to jump in order to see your plants blossom. When raising a garden, you literally reap the fruits of your labor. By spending so much time focused on the little things, you can more readily put your own life into perspective and appreciate all the ways your life mirrors the life of your garden.

These are just a few ways that gardening can benefit your mental well-being. There are other benefits to your physical well-being also. It may be hard work at first, but sooner or later you will begin to reap the rewards.

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