If you are not an avid gardener, or perhaps you are dipping your toes into the world of gardening for the first time, you may not be aware of the psychological benefits gardening can offer. When you think of gardening, you don’t need to think of a pristine, landscaped, humongous garden. Instead, think of sowing a seed and watching it grow and blossom into a beautiful fruit or flower. Think about planting wildflower seeds to create a haven for wildlife. Imagine cooking with the fruits of your labour that ou have grown in your very own garden. Sounds good, doesn’t it? For me, gardening feels wholesome and slow-paced. It makes me appreciate what I have in my life right now.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve only got a balcony or small yard. Even sowing seeds on your kitchen windowsill can make you feel good. But what is it about gardening that is so therapeutic and beneficial for our mental health? In this post, I’ll explain the reasons why gardening is a worthwhile hobby for a fulfilled life.
Why Does Gardening Improve Our Mental Wellbeing?
One reason gardening can improve our mental wellbeing is because of the exercise that unerpins it. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins that can boost our mood. Another reason that gardening can make us feel happy is because we are spending time in nature. Research suggests that taking time to step outside into nature can increase our self-esteem. It can even reduce our stress levels. This is because spending time in nature can lower our blood pressure and also reduces the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies.
Why Does Gardening Make You Happier?
Gardening and spending time in nature can generate positive emotions which make us feel happier and more fulfilled. It’s been reported that having contact with soil and specific soil bacteria triggers a release of serotonin (the happy hormone) in our brain. Increased serotonin also strengthens our immune system.
There is a growing trend in Japan called ‘forest bathing’, where a person emerses themselves outdoors in nature to rewind and refresh. This concept is beginning to catch on in the West, too. Research has suggested that forest bathing encourages people to disconnect from distractions and be more present in the moment. The same benefits can also arise when we are gardening. Once you understand the benefits of gardening and being in nature, it’s understandable why both gardening and forest bathing are on the rise.
Community Gardening Is Good For Loneliness
A new research study by The University of Essex has found that community gardening helped to reduce loneliness and improved mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As our collective wellbeing plummeted during the coronavirus lockdowns, it was found that gardening improved self-reported ratings of life-satisfaction by 9%! This research study also showed that the loneliness levels of the 53 participants also decreased – despite it being arguably one of the loneliest times in the history of humanity.
How Can I Start Gardening More?
Gardening is a hobby that you start almost immediately. You can start weeding your front porch, dead heading flowers, or sweeping up the leaves. These small gardening activities can still release feel-good hormones. A green revolution can start with even just a couple of plant pots! What is your favourite feel-good gardening activity?