Gardening offers a plethora of benefits.
Choices - just having the choice to decide what you want to grow can bring a sense of order to our lives. For many suffering with mental health issues this adds a degree of worth and purpose.
Mindfulness - when we are concerntrating on a task in the garden it redirects us away from those thoughts and worries causing us stress and allows us to focus on being productive.
Improves Self Esteem - the simple task of sowing seeds, nuturing the plant, tending to the crop and harvesting the rewards gives a complete sense of achievement and pride. Seeing the fruits of your labour gives you more confidence and motivation.
Endorphin Boost - gardening is physical but not so much that it puts added stress on the body. However it is enough to give your body a boost of endorphins which greatly improves your mood as well as the obvious physical benefits of becoming fitter.
Horticultural Therapy - this focuses on the combination of congnitive stimulation, planning, social interaction and the use of fine motor skills which allow for improvements in anxiety, depression and neuropathic pain. It also encourages an increase in the feeling of positivity.
Vitamin D - just being outside gardening allows you to absorb vitamin D from the Sun which gives our serotonin (happy) and melatonin (sleep) production a boost. So we become happier and sleep better.
Neurodegenerative Disease - a study conducted in Australia found that daily gardening reduced the incidence of Alzheimer’s by a significant 36%. As gardening involves functions such as learning, fine motor skills, problem solving, endurance and planning it appears to be a great combination in combating the disease.
Nature - with technology and all that it brings into our fast paced lives, gardening offers us some peace into our lives. Even if you are not a gardener just being outdoors in nature can sometimes literally be a breath of fresh air that your body and soul craves. Even if you don’t have a garden, grow something, a herb or a chilli on your window ledge. Just feel that joy and excitment when that tiny seed germinates, I gurantee you will be hooked. It will improve your life.