Gardening is turning out to be one of the best drugs available for both body and mind. Which is great news for all of us who already love gardening! Every hour spent in the garden you are working toward shedding pounds, building muscles, looking and feeling great while having fun, saving money and helping out the planet. Not to mention, three of the six health benefits listed below are related to improving mental health. Gardening is medicine that makes us happier!
It is likely no surprise that many studies indicate time spent in the garden reduces stress and increases well-being. Our mental health, wellness and quality of life are directly affected by nature. For example, trees change everyday city sounds by adding bird songs and buffering sirens. The loss of trees changes the soundscape and decreases our quality of life, increases stress levels, affects our mental health and diminishes our ability to focus.Mentally, the calming and healing effects of gardening have become recognized as so important that healing gardens are being installed in hospital grounds, and other institutions ranging from business centers to penitentiaries. Some gardening tasks put your mind into an almost meditative state of relaxation. Pruning shrubs, deadheading, and hand weeding are just a few activities that can allow you to clear your mind. Other tasks allow you to focus. Most allow you to immerse yourself in the present rather than stressing about the past or future. There is even a type of soil bacteria found almost everywhere outdoors, Mycobacterium vaccae, which is believed to stimulate production of norepinephrine and serotonin in your body which is said to mimic an antidepressant drug. It can help your body regulate the required balance of chemicals in the brain, fighting off depression!Bottom line, isn't it amazing when something you already love to do is GOOD for you? Gardening is one medicine that I am happy to take every day!