If you are looking for a new hobby which can be beneficial for your mental health, your therapist might suggest trying out gardening. The mental health benefits of this activity often get underestimated but are present. With that, let us explore what it is which makes horticulture so healing.
Natural Daylight And Sunshine Can Lift Your Mood
Serotonin is considered a mood stabilizer which makes individuals productive and has a more positive outlook in life. The release of this hormone can be through the help of natural daylight. Without enough exposure to sunlight, there is a tendency that our serotonin levels will go down, which will then cause us to feel lethargic, depressed, and anxious. This problem is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Gardening Keeps You Connected To Living Things
Gardening is a subtle reminder that we are not alone, and we are not the center of the world. Self-absorption and isolation can worsen your depression and focus on the great outdoors will most likely encourage you to be less insular. According to research in 2003, those prisons and mental health units which offer group gardening as one of their activities tend to develop aspirations and collective skills rather than having individual pessimism and deficits.
It Helps You Relax And Let Go
Gardening helps you escape the toxic world that we are living in. Tending to plants enables you to release the carefree part of your personality who is not worrying about the mortgage, work colleagues, deadlines, and other problems in life.
Moreover, gardening also allows thoughts to flow peacefully, given the rhythmic nature of horticulture – weeding, trimming, sowing, and sweeping. The competing ideas running through your head will most likely transform into a cleared and settled kind of mental approach. This peacefulness in mind is called mindfulness.
This “flow” state enables you not to notice the time passing, and it does not bother with your what happened to the past or what will happen in the future. Instead, it allows you to run in the present moment.
Gardening Is A Great Physical Exercise
It may not be the typical treadmill or dumbbell approach, but research has proven that a three to a four-hour gardening session is equivalent to an hour in the gym. Physical exercise is beneficial since it releases endorphins, a happy hormone, which makes individuals feel more relaxed and satisfied mentally and physically.
Aside from this, regular exercise also helps address other aspects of your lives, such as promoting weight loss and providing better sleep. These things can then boost an individual’s self-esteem.
Soil Is Known To Be An Antidepressant
Believe it or not, the soil has been considered by many studies to be an antidepressant, which helps lift the mood. Research by the University of Bristol and University College London experimented with the effects of soil on the spirit of individuals. They exposed a friendly bacteria usually found in soil to mice, and they discovered that its behavior was altered similarly with that of an antidepressant.
“These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health. They also leave us wondering if we shouldn’t all be spending more time playing in the dirt,” says Dr. Chris Lowry, the lead author of the paper.
They also observed that the bacteria introduced activated a group of neurons which improved the cognitive function and produced serotonin in the brain.
Gardening Helps Put You In Control
If you feel that your life is in chaos or that things are swallowing, gardening will put you back in control. You can decide on your own what kinds of flowers to plant or how to arrange your vegetable patch. The satisfaction that you have organized an orderly garden without the help of anyone can be very therapeutic, especially when the other areas of your life are not going according to plan.
It Is An Excellent Way To Meet New People
Mental illness is an isolating experience. Once you decide to be on your own, the tendency is that you won’t recover fast. Hence, joining community gardening activities can be a way for you to be able to socialize and find your support network. As a group of people bonding over one hobby, you won’t have to worry about those awkward silences since you’ll always have something to talk about.
With all of these benefits, it is clear that gardening positively affects your mental health. So, if you are searching for a new hobby which will lift your spirits and calm your mind, give gardening a try. You’ll soon feel the difference.