Gardening relieves stress and anxiety and planting and taking care of a garden is an excellent way to reduce anxiety.
Creating a small tranquil creative space that’s amidst a busy stressful life, helps relieve stress, gives you physical exercise, and plenty of fresh air and oxygen.
You’ll be deliberately focusing on the actions of gardening that the problems that were causing you anxiety will take a back seat for awhile.
Many people also suffering from PTSD, depression and other mental health issues are finding horticultural therapy helps them relax.
Much of the science behind how gardening affects the brain is still a mystery. Scientists have found that gardening helps reduce stress and calms your nerves. Cortisol levels which is the bodies natural stress hormone also lowers.
Keep It A Hobby, Not A Chore
One of the most important things to remember is to keep gardening a hobby and not turn it into a chore.
Just like people like running, doing yoga or golfing, some people enjoy gardening while others do not. Planting a larger garden than you can handle can actually lead to more stress than relieving it.
It’s important to also ask yourself, how much you like gardening, how much time and energy you’re able to put into it, and then determine the size of your garden.
How Does Gardening Relieve Stress And Anxiety
Planting a garden can be a great way to relieve stress. A small patio to decorate or if you have a large yard in which to plant vegetables or flowers, beautifying your own space can bring you peace.
A study of participants showed that 30 minutes of gardening, they experienced a large decline in the amount of stress they had. Gardening has a positive impact on stress as well as your mood.
There are several different benefits to gardening:
Creating Something Beautiful
Having your own little haven of beauty to either meditate, relax and contemplate life can provide some relief from stress.
You can plant so many different types of plants, use stone for borders or small walls. If you’re creative enough you could even create a small pond with fish. The possibilities are endless as is you imagination.
Looking after plants gives us a sense of responsibility. Caring for them is a great way to learn to look after and respect living things.
Get In Touch With Nature
Being in touch with nature helps us relax. Our mood and stress seem to lighten when we hear the birds, look at the flower and butterflies flying about.
Many people enjoy going for a walk or hike on a trail for the exercise which is good for stress, or even camping. Having your own piece of nature in your garden right outside your back door is a great way to relax.
When we are self absorbed and only inside our heads, this can lead to depression and anxiety.
For me, focusing on something outdoors helps get rid of my negative thoughts of the world and things around me.
Being around flowers and other plants helps to remind us to live in the present moment. The best thing I’ve found to lower my anxiety levels is being in the present moment and not worrying about what might happen in the future.
Remember to Touch, Listen, Smell and See your plants.
Many people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which mainly occurs during the winter months when there isn’t as much sunlight.
The sun helps create Vitamin D in our skin which is an essential vitamin for being happy and not depressed. Working on your garden will give you plenty of sunshine and you’ll enjoy the fresh air too!
Taking care of a garden requires doing physical work. This work will be weeding, raking, planting and digging, pruning along with harvesting vegetables.
Physical work is a great outlet to relieve tension our bodies store up. Planting and taking care of a garden relieves stress and anxiety.
Dopamine and serotonin which are hormones that make us feel good. They are released when we exercise and the stress hormone cortisol is lowered.
When I work in my garden I feel not only tired afterwards, but happy, seeing my work and natures beauty. What’s good for the body is also good for the mind.
Leave Your Phone Inside
Leaving your phone inside is definitely hard as most people like to always stay connected.
Disconnecting and paying attention to only your garden will help you focus on the task at hand without stressful distractions.
Make this time for you, no multitasking, no emails, no social media.
What To Grow To Reduce Your Stress
If you are a sufferer of anxiety, panic attacks or depression there are some plants that may help relieve your symptoms. Vegetables are high in Magnesium, Vitamin B Combats Anxiety and Calcium.
Read my post on how Magnesium Relieves Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Invite Wildlife Into Your Garden
Creating a garden can also help bring more birds and butterflies to your yard.
The National Wildlife Federation provides many different plants that will create a safe habitat and invite birds, butterflies and other animals you might like to see in your garden. Click the link and do a search on their site for what you’d like to attract, such as butterflies.
Having these beautiful creatures around will add another dimension to your little outdoor haven.
How To Start Your Garden
Gardening can feel intimidating especially if you’ve never gardened before.
Your garden can be big or small, it can be what ever you want it to be. Whether it’s a small area next to your patio or a large patch in your yard, create your garden to be what you can handle.
- First start small, you can always add on later
- Plant what you love, flowers or vegetables. Flowers create beauty in your special place while vegetables can provide healthy eating
- Gardening needs regular attention so make sure you plan some time to work on your garden
I’ll write a future post on creating your garden in more detail such as plants to plant and design ideas in the coming weeks so be sure to check back soon.
I’d love to hear your gardening ideas and what you’ve created in your garden, please feel free to leave a comment.