It’s hard to believe that two centuries ago, most people didn’t have access to a garden. The best they could hope for was a park. Today, though, things are different. The majority of people have a garden at the back of their home where they can feel a little closer to nature.
And that’s good news: gardens can work wonders for your mental health. Here’s how:
They Improve How You View Yourself
For some people, just watching seeds they’ve planted grow into full-grown plants can be an extremely edifying experience. You’re doing something that is allowing life to flourish – and that can make you feel great.
They Let You Relax
Do you remember lounging around in summerhouses while you were young, reading a book without a care in the world? If so, you’ll know all about the incredible calming powers of gardens.
Just spending a couple of hours in the garden can be enough to allow the stress to drain from your body. The person who steps back into the house after lounging in the sun is not the one who stepped out of it two hours before.
They Encourage Exercise
Because you have more space, you’re much freer to move your body in the garden than you are in the house. In turn, this helps to elevate your mood. Your brain releases a host of feel-good hormones that circulate around your body, changing how you feel.
They Make You Feel More Connected To Nature
As modern humans, we’ve largely lost our connection to nature. We’ve forgotten that we’re not just strange aliens who arrived on Earth out of the blue but instead products of this planet. As such, we’re at our best when we’re in nature, enjoying its surroundings.
Sometimes, though, we forget this, particularly if we live in giant modern cities. Our built environment does not resemble nature and can leave us feeling alienated and lost, without really knowing why.
Having a garden helps to reverse this by putting you back in touch with your roots, if only in a small way. Many people report feeling sensations of biophilia when out in nature — the profound sense that “this is where I should be.” This alone can be enough to transform your mental health, reminding you that nature is bigger than it appears on the television screen.
Of course, even gardening comes with risks. Make sure that you don’t spend too long out in the sun to avoid skin damage. Drink plenty of water when outside.
Gardening can lead to a host of bacterial and insect-borne illnesses. These include:
- Tick bites can lead to serious conditions, such as Lyme disease
- Legionnaires disease from bacteria in the soil or compost
- Tetanus and sepsis infection that result from dirt entering open wounds
- Itching, blistering, or rashes from poisonous plants
So long as you protect yourself, you should be safe in the garden. Simply spending more time outdoors can work wonders for your mental health, particularly if your job requires you to be in the office all week.
This is a collaborative post.