It might appear obvious how gardening or variations of farming help us psychologically and even economically. And during the lockdown, we see many of us engaged once more with tilling the earth and reaping its benefits.
But why is gardening so good for our mental health? Here are a few reasons research reveal about the mental and psychological effect of gardening.
- Gardening makes us more responsible – Tending a garden requires time, effort, and even a plan. Having to look after and respect living things help us appreciate better our role and connectedness with nature and how our behavior (good or bad, small or big) affect the balance in the environment.
- It allows us to relax – For many of us, gardening gives a respite from the hustle and bustle of human interaction. Flowers and plants are restful to look at, they don’t have conflicts or emotions we need to contend with. With them, we can just be ourselves and let go.
- Makes us happy – Communing with nature and sweating it out in the process triggers the release of happy hormones serotonin and dopamine and lower cortisol, a stress hormone. When you garden, you are forced to get out in the open, expose yourself to the sunlight, and make you feel alive.
- Gardening makes us nurturers – When we tend to plants, our caring nature is naturally elicited. It doesn’t matter how old or young we are, whether male or female, plants thrive under whose hands they feel cherished and cultivated.
- Gardening keeps our focus from ourselves – At present, many are overwhelmed by the uncertainty around. And more and more people are getting more and more anxious and depressed. Yet, when we do gardening, we get to be reminded that we are not the center of the universe. Our tendency to self-absorb and brood over our problems are minimized as we become more connected with nature and the cosmos. It’s rewards are even double if done collectively with family members.
- Gardening makes us live in the now – Our ruminations of the past and apprehensions of the future are the very culprit of our anxiety and problems. Gardening helps us focus on the task at hand, get involved in the ebb and flow of the moment, and forget about what has been and what will be as we listen, touch, smell, and see life and beautysurrounding us.
- Gardening makes us understand the cycle of life – As we become more immersed in our gardening world, we get to experience first-hand how living things come and go, die and flow. This phenomenon reminds us of the realities of life, and help us confront the most universal of anxieties; death. The death and rebirth we see in our garden assures us that although we are dust, and to dust we shall return…life still continues.
- So, if you haven’t started yet, it’s never too late. It does not matter how it is done, as long as it is done. And you will reap what you sow; in heart, mind, body, and soul.