Life can get stressful. Sometimes too stressful. With to-do lists coming out of our ears, we’re not always the best at putting our own needs first and so our mental health can suffer.
Yoga, meditation, going to the gym, changing our diets - these are all commonly-recommended ways of improving our mental health. The list doesn’t end there though.
We can add so much value to our lives through something as simple as vegetable gardening. As a peaceful and productive activity, it boasts so many benefits that can dramatically improve our mental health with minimal effort.
How can it help you?
This exercise does wonders for your mental health. When we exercise, our bodies release two “happy hormones”: serotonin and dopamine.
These hormones are produced to improve our moods. When we are suffering from poor mental health, these hormones are in short supply, so getting outdoors and planting some veggies is an easy way to lift us up!
At the same time, when we exercise, our levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, drop. The exercise we get through gardening restores the balance of hormones, leaving us feeling more chipper.
We are all guilty of lazing around, spending too much time indoors. We sit in offices all day. We drive or take public transport home. Then we spend the rest of the evening indoors until the next morning. And so the cycle continues…
Our lack of contact with sunlight does terrible things to our state of mental health. It disconnects us with the natural world and the natural rhythm of the day.
Spending time gardening outside can help us to overcome depressive episodes, combating the effects of seasonal affective disorder.
Natural sunlight spurs on the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. When we have balanced levels of melatonin in our system, we find it far easier to sleep, and so our biological clocks can regulate.
If you’ve ever experienced a bout of insomnia, you’ll know firsthand that getting good quality and consistent sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy mind and body. It allows us to properly rest our bodies, refreshing us for the day ahead. Forcing ourselves through the day when we’ve had little downtime is a sure-fire way to burn ourselves out.
Gardening is incredibly rewarding. By stepping into a nurturing role, our vegetables become reliant on us to survive. We become tasked with a duty of care to our plants.
This sense of responsibility is fantastic for strengthening our self-esteem, and in turn, this helps to strengthen our state of mental health.
When we have responsibility, we have purpose, and this purpose motivates us to keep active because there is something at stake if we don’t perform our duties. Knowing that there is something that is relying on us gives us a sense of self-importance.
Growing our own vegetables allows us to become more self-sufficient too which also works to improve our self-esteem. We reduce our need to rely on others and feel more confident in our own abilities.
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by our endless to-do lists. We worry constantly about our loved ones and events going on the world. We replay negative memories over and over in our heads. Vegetable gardening gives our brains a second to breathe.
“When we set aside some time to spend working in our gardens, we can treat ourselves to some peaceful alone time,” says fanatical gardener, Kenny Macguire of Stewart Timber, the leading timber garden sheds Glasgow provider. “We can forget our work deadlines or the shopping list we need to complete and instead become fully absorbed in the activity at hand".
Gardening is therapeutic and allows us to let go of any anxiety we have from day-to-day life for a while. Having this downtime does tremendous things for our mental health.
Up until now, these points have all picked out the benefits of soaking up the tranquility of nature, but sometimes we need a little time to vent our pent-up aggression!
Gardening presents a great, safe outlet for expressing our frustration in a healthy and productive way.
Whether you’re hacking at a hedge or driving a shovel into the ground, you can release your fury after a long, tough day whilst reaping the benefits of tending to your garden.
Too often, when we feel low, we become very insular and shrink into our shells. We can become self-absorbed, constantly fretting about our own problems. This leaves us to get caught in a cycle of depressive episodes, feeling like we’re all alone.
When we go out into nature, tending to our vegetable gardens, we can practice a little mindfulness. Being in this green space can remind us that we’re not alone in this world and our gardening work can help us to directly connect with nature.
The change of scene helps us to open up and become aware of our surroundings, stopping us from feeling so detached. The impact we make on the physical space in our garden is evidence of our connection to the outside world, reducing feelings of loneliness and giving a boost to our mental health.
Vegetable gardening is a natural and soothing activity.
It helps our minds to enter a tranquil state, temporarily leaving behind our daily woes. It works to improve our physical health, which in turn positively affects our mental health. It gives us a purpose and gives us a sense of achievement, working towards growing something pure and beautiful.
If you’re feeling low or anxious, vegetable gardening could be the ideal form of therapy for you.
Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.
Learning How to Tell If A Pomegranate is Ripe to Pick07 Mar, 2019
How to Water Tomato Plants in Your Home Garden12 Aug, 2018
The Best Climbers For An Autumnal Trellis You Should Know21 Mar, 2018
A Grounded Guide to Farming Potatoes at Home26 Dec, 2017
A Beginner’s Guide to Fruit Gardening