Why gardening is great for mental health

Gardening has long been known to have a healing effect on the psyche. Here we look at how it improves people’s mental health.

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1 Taking responsibility

You’re never too young to start looking after a green patch. Caring for plants brings a sense of respect for living things and nature’s magic.

2 ​Be proud to nurture plants

Everyone can nurture and take pleasure from caring for plants. The transformative activity of gardening is enjoyable and can boost unwell people’s self-esteem.

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3 Expanses within borders

Whatever the size of your garden, it taps into the great outdoors. Digging in a walled garden keeps the vulnerable safe within boundaries, while expanding their horizons.

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MIND looks at the link between nature and mental health here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/#.XRTUbY_hXIU.

4 Relaxation

Flowers are restful, and help us tap into a carefree part of ourselves. While carrying out garden jobs – such as trimming, sowing, weeding and sweeping – solutions to problems and creative thoughts come readily.

5 Happy hormones

Exercise in the garden stimulates both body and mind, as the feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine, are produced. Meanwhile, cortisol (stress) levels are lowered, and people’s sleep improves.

6 Being in the moment

Anxiety lessens when we focus on the present. Pausing and becoming aware of your senses will calm your nerves, and moments of calm reflection in a garden can restore your soul.

7 The cycle of life

Gardening taps into cycles of birth and death, and has a ritualistic purpose including the relief of grief. Memorial gardens and graves decorated with shrubs are a reminder that we all return to dust.

8 Venting anger

If you are upset, hacking with a tool in a garden can perform a therapeutic function. Venting your aggression on plants ultimately has links to growth and renewal.

9 Gaining control

If you feel overwhelmed, gardening can offer a sense of control. While other people can be difficult, beds and borders can fall easily under your thumb.

10 Gardening breeds confidence

Even the smallest of gardens or patios will introduce you to the healing power of plants – branch out as you become more sure of yourself.