Have you ever wondered why you feel good after working in the garden? Yes, we all have sore muscles after the first few times in the spring when we have been working outside. But emotionally and mentally do you feel better? There is scientific research to back that statement up. Research has shown spending time outside is good for not only our bodies but our minds as well.
Let’s think about some of the benefits that we maybe never thought about. Gardening is a way to help us realize the unpredictability of life, that we can’t always be in control of the situation. We can’t control the rain, the sunshine, or the temperature outside, but we can adapt to those changes. If you consider yourself to be a perfectionist, I think we all do in some regard, the lack of control in the garden can be helpful to learn to not put so much pressure on yourself. When we realize that sometimes we have failures in the garden, that stimulates us to learn what went wrong and opens us up to learning new things. Giving those brain cells a workout. Good relationships often develop with others that have common interests as we do. There is nothing better than boosting our mood, by talking about gardening with others and sharing our passion.
Gardeners develop a relationship with the plot of ground they are tending. You feel like a parent to those little plants and want to nurture them along. You want those little plants to grow and survive just like your kids when you send them out into the world. Ever wonder why garden centers are sometimes called nurseries?
I often find myself totally absorbed in the gardening process. My mind concentrates on what I am doing, right in that moment. I don’t worry about what am I going to have for supper, or how much laundry I have to do. The rest of the world fades away and I connect with getting my hands and fingernails dirty. I hear the wind rustling the leaves, the birds singing, and smell the fragrance in the air. Whatever stresses are in my life that day seem to disappear and my mind gets recharged and reenergized. The first thing I like to do when I have a particularly stressful day is to take a walk around my yard. It seems to help me let go of that stress, helps my emotional well-being.
It goes without saying, gardening provides great physical exercise. Movement helps your body get those endorphins going to boost your mood and lower anxiety levels. Eating healthy foods that you have grown is a benefit for your diet, helping to limit processed whole foods and substitute them with fresh fruits and vegetables can have a significant impact on our mental health as well as our physical health.