Various studies have shown that gardening and stress relief go hand in hand. A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that gardening was more effective at reducing stress than reading a book. Gardening has been proven to reduce stress and may even improve your mood after a stressful situation. A report in the Mental Health Journal states that gardening reduces stress and improves mood, as well as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
In fact, there is growing evidence that gardening reduces stress even more than other activities such as reading, with longer lasting effects, including physical and mental health benefits. Whether you have a few small plants on your windowsill or a backyard with an impressive vegetable garden, there are a range of physical and mental health benefits people get from spending time in their garden. Dr. Chris Williams says that while gardening, people experience several mental health benefits that come from the sense of accomplishment people get when caring for another living being. In today’s article, we explore the physical and mental health benefits of gardening and why time spent in the garden helps relieve stress.
The gardening world has something for everyone, and here are some tips on how to enjoy its stress-reducing properties without a yard or garden. I recently asked three experts for advice on how to maximize your stress reduction potential through gardening. The 2012 Journal of Health and Psychology reported the first scientific evidence that gardening can help relieve acute stress.
A study of participants found that 30 minutes of gardening significantly reduced their stress levels. People who worked in gardening experienced longer declines in the stress hormone cortisol than people who engaged in other activities. Another study showed that after 30 minutes of gardening, participants had lower cortisol levels and improved their mood due to being active.
One study found that after just 30 minutes of gardening, cortisol levels dropped and mood scores improved, with a fully restored sense of well-being maintained throughout the recovery period. Another study published in the Journal of Public Health found that gardening for just 30 minutes boosts self-esteem and mood.
Gardening just 30 minutes a day once a week can reverse the effects of stress. The NHS recommends about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week along with high-intensity muscle work, and many of those minutes can be associated with simple gardening pleasures.
Gardening restores agility and strength, and aerobic exercise in the garden can consume the same amount of calories as in the gym. Gardening also reduces the time you spend sitting, which is also very good for our health. But mostly it gives us the opportunity to live in the present moment and practice mindfulness.
This is a true center of awareness and another example of why a well maintained and loved garden can be of enormous benefit to your mental health. If you still need to convince yourself a little that spending time in the garden is a great way to relax and improve your mental health, check out this article that says just looking at a well-groomed garden is good for the soul. Science is catching on, too: numerous studies show that gardening can improve your physical and emotional well-being, as well as benefit society.
We at Health4U have just started thinking about gardening as another way to improve mental health. Therefore, we plan to offer more articles and courses on gardening. Charlie Hall, Ph.D., Horticulture and Economics Specialist at AgriLife Extension, College Station, explores all the ways gardening and plants can help improve your mental health.
Horticultural therapy is a relatively recent area of research that focuses primarily on the impact of the gardening process on rehabilitation, providing both a sense of control and a distraction from anxiety, pain, and stress. Therapeutic gardening, on the other hand, refers to the use of plants and gardening to help people get rid of feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom. Therapeutic gardening is a broad term, as it can be argued that all forms of gardening aim to eliminate stress.
Gardening and plant care allow you to exercise while taking your mind off things that cause stress. Gardening relieves stress and anxiety, and planting and maintaining a garden is a great way to reduce anxiety. Gardening won’t solve all our problems, but working with plants is a well-known stress reliever.