"To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." - Alfred Austin
While many people don’t feel the need to justify their enjoyment of gardening, there’s increasing recognition that the mind, body and soul can all benefit from the physical movement and contact with nature that gardening involves. Gardening is a straightforward but satisfying activity that can boost mood and bring calmness and quiet to the mind in an otherwise hectic world.
Most gardeners instinctively feel the benefits of gardening, but there’s also a growing amount of scientific evidence to support that gut feeling. Recent studies have reported that gardening brings improvements to physical wellbeing as well as wide-ranging mental health benefits, including lessening depression and anxiety. These benefits appear to be enjoyed across genders, age groups and cultural backgrounds.
Gardening is an excellent form of physical activity that promotes overall wellness. It entails a variety of different movements, such as digging, planting and weeding, that provide a full-body workout - so there's no need to join the gym or don active wear! Gardening involves both gross and fine motor skills and can help to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and improve balance. It's also a low-impact kind of activity that's gentle on the joints, making it possible for anyone who has joint pain or mobility concerns.
Mental Health Benefits
“At the bottom of freshly dug holes, I bury my problems alongside the waxen seeds.” ― Kelseyleigh Reber
The nurturing and care of plants can be meditative and therapeutic, lowering tension and anxiety. Gardening's repetitive actions can also be peaceful and contemplative, helping to cleanse the mind and offer a sense of tranquillity. And who hasn’t felt the sense of satisfaction and boost to self-esteem at seeing the results of your labour, whether that takes the form of a freshly harvested tomato or the healthy bloom of a dahlia?
Spending time outside in nature has been demonstrated to improve mood, focus and overall well-being. Recent university studies have found direct mental health benefits just from observing plants, boosting mood and concentration in particular. What’s more, whether you interact regularly with other gardeners or not, simply by gardening you are part of a community of like-minded people.
Creativity and Experimentation
“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” —Janet Kilburn Phillips
Gardening gives people an opportunity to plan, design and create, and while occasional failures growing plants are disappointing, they provide good opportunities for learning and experimentation. The simple act of watching plants grow and bloom can be a reminder of the cycles of life and the beauty of growth and change. And there’s never a shortage of new plants, ideas and gardening techniques to try - you could garden for a lifetime and only touch on some of them.
Gardening is a wonderful pastime that has many advantages for the mind, body and spirit. All of these benefits can be enjoyed by everyone, whether you have a single houseplant or a large garden. The more gardening becomes a regular part of your lifestyle, the more positive impacts it will have.