Not many people correlate gardening with mental health or with wellness in general, but actively gardening and being in a natural setting can work wonders for your overall health in more ways than you might realize.
People have been gardening since humans developed civilizations, settled, and began agrarian social structures. And though gardening in ancient times was largely done to facilitate subsistence, today it exists in many forms–from therapeutic pastimes to providing food for one’s family.
But how exactly can gardening be beneficial for one’s personal health and well-being? And what are some of the better gardening practices to help meet these goals?
Gardening offers you a space to not only be creative but also to engage with your natural environment. And these are only two of the basic aspects of gardening that can be beneficial.
If you’re looking to improve your overall health and wellness, the following will explore how this is done with gardening, and some gardening practices you should consider.
Mood & Self-Confidence
Plants create an oxygen-rich environment. And correspondingly, working around plants offers an atmosphere of fresh air. Combined with being outdoors in natural light, this is known to improve mood and feelings of peace.
Additionally, focusing your attention on a specific task allows you the ability to reduce the influx of negative thoughts, and enables you to ease any stress that you may be feeling.
You can also build a better sense of self-confidence when gardening in simple ways. Because the fact is, it takes a lot of work to grow plants, flowers, and vegetables. And once you’re able to see the fruits of your labour, this can be a huge boost to feelings of confidence along with helping to reinforce overall happiness and mental well-being.
Concentration & Exercise
As mentioned, focusing your attention on a specific task can be beneficial in many ways, especially when it comes to concentration and mental clarity. In fact, several studies have shown that gardening as a therapeutic exercise can help alleviate common symptoms associated with ADHD.
Concentrating on simple tasks has also been shown to help improve cognitive function and mental agility. And gardening offers many of the same benefits as similar singularly focused activities such as reading, writing, and painting.
While helping you improve your overall concentration, gardening also offers a bit of exercise as well. Activities such as weeding, hand-pulling, raking, digging, and the like require the constant working of muscle groups.
Additionally, most gardening activities are performed in the warmer months. As such, you’ll have the added benefit of working up a sweat while you’re working in the garden. And this also allows your body to rid itself of toxins.
Natural Gardening Techniques
If you’re wanting to focus on developing balanced health and wellness, the best methods for gardening should include natural solutions. Because the last thing you’ll want to do is enter your garden amid the stench of chemical residues that harmful pesticides and herbicides produce.
Further, the use of many herbicides has been known to cause cancer, respiratory illnesses, and a host of other physiological problems and health concerns among farmers and agricultural laborers.
In place of using any chemicals, you should use all-natural alternatives when tending to your garden. These are much better for you, your garden, and for the environment as a whole. As such, for herbicides, the following solutions can be used:
- White Vinegar (at least 5 percent acetic acid)
- Dish soap, vinegar, and salt solutions
- Boiling water
- Heat treatments
In addition, when attempting to combat insects or pests in your garden, using natural elements such as planting Marigolds, Thyme, Basil, Mint, and other herbs around your garden can deter many different types of bugs.
In addition to the use of specific plants as alternatives for pesticides, using diatomaceous earth offers a layer of protection that will kill most bugs in your garden as well.
Balancing Health & Wellness with Gardening
In our busy world, it’s rare that any of us ever get a moment to ourselves. And gardening offers you the chance to embrace a space of solitude, giving you a much-needed break from the noise of daily life.
Additionally, if you’re a very social person, there are many community gardens that you can become a part of that will welcome you. And this can be especially helpful if you’re new to an area and want to meet new people.
Simply by being a part of a larger group can benefit your mental health in many ways, especially by forming new, like-minded social connections.