Horticultural therapy i.e., using gardening as a means to facilitate dialogue and skill-building is one of the very successful practices in reducing stress and befitting mental health. Have you been struggling with depression? Are you experiencing anxiety more often than not? Whatever your mental health problems be, horticultural therapy can help you cope. Spending time outdoors, taking care of plants and making sure your garden looks flawless can help you in numerous ways.
Spending time outdoors can be very beneficial to our mental health. Just being outdoors among greenery and nature makes our body release feel-good chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. As a result, you’ll be in a much better mood. All the greenery, fresh air and the birds chirping around will be an idyllic environment to spend time in. You’ll feel a sense of tranquillity which will instantly make you feel much better. If you find a gardening buddy to help you out and be there with you to chat and just keep you company, the benefits will be even greater.
Gardening can also have de-stressing effects on you. Namely, spending time outdoors away from the computer and tv will take all the stress away. Connecting to nature will promote relaxation and lower stress levels significantly. You can try it out by simply looking at a picture of a garden, a meadow, or a rainforest. Just by observing a green ambiance, you’ll notice that you feel more at ease. Now imagine spending time outdoors and being surrounded by so many plants, flowers, herbs, and trees.
The connection between physical exercises, such as squatting down to pot a plant, dig the dirt and replant herbs, then walking around the yard, and mental health, are astounding. Once you’re working on improving your physical activity your mental health will benefit from it instantly. Without enough sunlight exposure, our serotonin levels can drop, causing us to feel depressed, anxious and lethargic. That’s why you should think about building a garden spot for you in the backyard and spend at least an hour every day outside working on your plants. Make sure you’re always protected from the harmful UV rays and have an opening pergola roof in the backyard to be fully comfortable and have enough shade in the warm summer months. Maintain muscle tone, feel good and relieve anxiety every day through daily work in your garden.
If you’ve been experiencing a shortage in self-esteem, then gardening is just the right hobby to start. You’ll have a chance to start a project of your own and take care of it all the way through. Connecting with nature and the world outside will bring new perspectives to you and allow you to realise that you have nothing to feel insecure about. You can be a nurturer and give your love and attention to the world regardless of the way you look, talk, dress or what you like. All the raking, digging and weeding offers a sense of self-worth and makes you feel proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Feel a sense of purpose
Speaking of self-worth, with it comes a sense of purpose too. Once you’re directly involved in a hands-on project that you’ve started, taken care of ad finished, you’ll feel a sense of purpose. Becoming aware of the fact that you helped a plant grow and develop into something that many people can benefit from, will offer a sense of pride and validation. Aside from experiencing the surge of dopamine and serotonin, helping plants grow will also stimulate your identity as a nurturer. Having a garden to care for will likely give you a sense of responsibility towards your wellbeing. Only after you’ve taken care of yourself will you be able to make sure your garden is in good shape.
Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
People who spend their free time gardening have been shown to have better brain function and improved concentration and memory. According to some research, gardening can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Namely, daily gardening can reduce the risk of dementia by over 36 per cent. So, if for nothing else, get that rake and shovel and start planting to keep your mind sharp and dementia far away.
Horticultural therapy can be the best solution to your mental health problems. Whether you’ve been experiencing stress, anxiety or a lack of self-esteem, just dabbling around the garden can make you feel much better. So, grab those gardening tools and start creating a nice little outdoor sanctuary for yourself. The more physically active you are, the less time you’ll have to think about stuff that stresses you out and nature will do its magic in making you feel good and look forward to another day that you get to spend in your garden.