There are various scientific studies that show the benefits of humans connecting to nature. Gardening is even more healthy for you than you thought! It’s not just physical health that improves with gardening, but studies now show there are many mental benefits as well.
The benefits of “green exercise” show that people who take their exercise outdoors feel significantly less depressed, less tense, less angry, and less fatigued than those who stay indoors. These problems are linked more broadly to what health care experts call the “epidemic of inactivity,” and a devaluing of ecological and social interaction. However, we believe these studies also show that society’s nature-deficit disorder can be reversed.
Everyday more studies are released on the benefits ecotherapy has on children, teenagers and adults, relieving stress, decreasing ADD, ADHD and various mental health illnesses, as well as helping our bodies fight illness and dis-ease. The use of the outdoors for well-being is becoming increasingly popular as we discover more and more the benefits of natural medicine, clean forest air and our interaction with our environment.
Even a small windowsill garden or maintaining house plants can boost your mood and encourage healthy brain function. Extra bonus points for digging your hands into the dirt and interacting with the plants. Read on to see some of the surprising mental benefits of gardening:
- Reduces Depression and Stress – spending time in green spaces has been shown to reduce stress and brain fatigue.
- Provides Mental Clarity – utilizing the senses to distinguish natural sounds and smells encourages the brain to use cognition and reasoning and improves mental clarity. Nature helps us disconnect from the stressors of our everyday lives and facilitates spiritual connections by engaging our senses and quieting our minds.
- Improves Mental Outlook – Post-surgical patients with window views of nature have shorter hospital stays, receive fewer negative evaluations and take fewer pain medications than patients in similar rooms with windows facing a brick wall. Residents with houseplants reported less depression and suicidal tendencies. Also, in a study of college students, it was noted that students with natural views from their windows are more likely to score higher on tests. Just seeing greenery improves the mood and mental outlook.
- Improves Attention – the effect of walking through a garden or park is equal to the peak effect of two typical ADD/ADHD medications. The act of planning a garden, designing, researching and implementing a plan increased cognitive reasoning and memory.
- Increases Energy and Reduces Fatigue – adults that garden just 15 minutes a day show increased energy and cite reduced fatigue and stress.
As if you needed more reason to enjoy your garden than the beautiful flowers and tasty vegetables, now you know that it’s improving your mental health and outlook on life as well.
So go on, dig in the dirt and sing the praises of your hard work – it’s good for you!