Getting into your garden is brilliant for wildlife, nurturing nature, and improving your physical wellbeing. More than this, it is a means of improving your mental health. There are many reasons for this impact on your wellbeing, and we explore ten of these benefits; here is some detail.
Getting out amongst nature
Being in nature and connecting with the natural world is an important salve to our body and mind. Processing the world through our senses rather than our analytical mind allows us time to restore ourselves.
These two parts of our brain cannot work simultaneously, so when we are immersed in the sounds of the birds, the smell of the earth, the feel of the warmth of the sun, we cannot also be worrying.
Learning to accept we are not in control
One of the significant reasons for our anxiety and depression is our desire to control our lives. We feel buffeted by events as if we are a stone being carried in a stream. Working in a garden helps you to quickly appreciate that you need to swim with this flow and accept that nature has her ways that you cannot push against.
Learning that you need to plant at the right time and in the right position to grow the best crops gives some perspective that can help in life.
It encourages a growth mindset
While this might sound like a terrible pun, with gardening and growth interlinked, it is a genuine way of shaping a positive mindset.
Growth Mindset is a theory by psychologist Carol Dweck and focuses on the value of failure in helping us to develop. We celebrate the process, and the insights gained rather than focus too heavily on the outcome.
Mistakes will happen in your garden, and there will be a logical reason for this misstep. Seeing these failures as opportunities for more success next time is easy when planting crops and practicing can evolve into our everyday lives.
There is a massive community of gardeners in the world. Renting an allotment is a great way of becoming part of a community of people who happily talk to anyone around. Connecting with others is a crucial salve to our mental wellbeing's everyday wear and tear.
Connecting with the planet
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that unhappiness is linked to a lack of meaning. It is often easier to find contentment when you have a spiritual purpose.
While we are not all religious, we can all connect with the beauty of our planet. It might help us find that bigger meaning we have been looking for.
Lose the importance of perfection
You have little hope of getting everything right in the garden. There is also something beautiful about the happy accidents that creates something more precious. Losing the need for perfection can significantly reduce anxiety and stress and can be learned in your garden.
When you are working in the garden you are unlikely to feel sad about the past or stress about the future. Gardening promotes the mindful practice of being present.
If you have ever wondered what this means, it is about living only with the activity you are doing now and not time traveling to the past or the future. It is often this mental time travel that causes much of our mental distress.
Physical health helps build mental health
Our bodies and minds are intrinsically linked. If we provide the right ingredients for our body, then our mind is more equipped to deal with the stresses of life. Therefore, getting out in the garden is perfect for getting the exercise you need to stay physically healthy.
Promotes healthy eating
As well as exercise, you can also grow the crops that you need for a healthy diet. When your body gets the nutrients it needs, your mood will naturally be impacted.
You will feel like you are doing your bit
Finally, though not insignificantly, gardening can be a small way to contribute to the environmental challenges we face. When we feel mentally unwell and that the world is bleak, it is hard to know how we can impact the bigger stories we face.
However, planting a tree or growing your own food, composting, and collecting rainwater are all important ways to contribute to the health of our planet. When we feel like we are doing our bit, we are likely to feel less stressed when we watch the news.