There are few things more relaxing than sitting in one’s garden during the summer, watching the plump bumblebees float in and out of the colourful array of flowers and foliage. That feeling is only enhanced when you feel the soil in your hands and the delicate flower petals between your finger tips and smell the gentle aromas of the herbs, flowers or vegetables you are growing.
Gardening is one of the most relaxing outdoor activities one can partake in - not only is it relaxing, it’s also a great stress reliever.
“Through deliberate mental focus and meditating on the actions of gardening, you are taking time to set aside your problems for a while. We all know it's healthy to take a break from our stressors and gardening provides that outlet for a lot of people,” according to the Sound Mind website.
Gardens are also extremely satisfying because we reap the results of our actions. For example, a vegetable garden rewards us with fresh healthy vegetables and a flower garden rewards us with colourful aromatic flowers. Whatever you sow, you will reap.
Gardening can also be an excellent way to reconnect with the Earth and our spirituality. “A garden is a place where we can slow down and reconnect with the natural world the way our ancestors did all day, every day,” Kristen K. Brown, author of The Happy Hour Effect, told Psychology Today.
Research has proven that spending time in nature can help restore your attention, relax your body, and revive your mood. A garden offers a variable feast for the senses: lush leaves, fragrant blossoms, singing birds, spongy earth. Make a conscious effort to soak it all in and bask in the sunlight. By becoming fully absorbed in the moment you are engaging in mindfulness, a tried and true way of reducing stress and clearing the mind. “Many gardeners view their hobby as the perfect antidote to the modern world, a way of reclaiming some of the intangible things we've lost in our busy, dirt-free lives,” James Jiler, the founder and executive director of Urban GreenWorks, told CNN.
“Gardening is my me time,” Dan White, an Edmonton businessman and executive, explains. “I get to leave all the stressors of the day inside and go out and get my hands dirty,” Edmonton’s Dan White goes on to say.
We have often heard the phrase ‘healing garden’. This is more than a mere statement, it attests to the power nature has to affect our wellbeing. “It is impossible to be angry and garden,” Dan White comments. “Just being outside can brighten your mood and after a few minutes you are in much better spirits.”
Gardening is also beneficial for mental health and one’s mood. “Two separate studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years found, respectively, that those who gardened regularly had a 36 percent and 47 percent lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners,” a CNN article states.
In northern climates, like those for example found in Canada or Germany, it is hard to access these benefits year round. Indoor gardening, urban gardening and subterranean gardening are all viable options to ensure your thumb stays green all year round.