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The Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening for Mental Health

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

Garden Sign: 'As I work on the garden, the garden works on me

Many of us are already aware of the research-backed benefits of spending time outdoors on our physical and mental well-being. It should come as no surprise, then, that gardening offers a multitude of advantages for our mental health. While gardening was once primarily associated with older generations, its popularity is on the rise for a very good reason.

1. Cultivating Acceptance: Gardening provides a wonderful opportunity to practice acceptance, a key aspect of managing anxiety. Much of the turmoil associated with anxiety stems from attempting to control things beyond our reach. Gardening serves as a valuable tool for accepting the limits of our control and embracing the unpredictability of life, ultimately leading to peace of mind. Acceptance, whether in the garden or in other areas of daily life, doesn't equate to giving up. Instead, it involves focusing on what you can control and relinquishing control over the rest. This philosophy aligns with gardening, where you prepare the best possible environment for your plants and trust time and nature to do the rest.

2. Natural Healing: Research has consistently demonstrated the mental health benefits of being in natural landscapes, such as reduced anxiety and depression, improved stress management, and various other positive effects. Having your garden allows you to readily access these benefits. Additionally, the regular upkeep of a garden encourages you to spend more time outdoors. Gardening's grounding aspects can help release stress, reminding you to pause and appreciate your surroundings intentionally.

3. Nutritional Wellness: Studies indicate that dietary changes can alleviate some symptoms of depression. Gardening not only connects you with nature but also provides you with the freshest and healthiest foods available. There's a unique joy in knowing you played an integral role in growing the food you're consuming. Cultivating your own produce can instill a lasting habit of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

4. Seasonal Planting Suggestions: If you're considering starting a garden this winter, here's a list of plants to consider:

  • Garlic

  • Snapdragon

  • Leeks

  • Spinach

  • Mustard Greens

  • Kale

  • Beets

  • Tulips

  • Daffodils

  • Hyacinth

Incorporating gardening into your life can significantly benefit your mental health. It's a practice that fosters acceptance, connects you with nature, improves your diet, and can be a source of joy and relaxation. So, as you embark on your gardening journey, may your plants flourish, and may you find solace and well-being in the therapeutic art of gardening. Happy planting, dear friends!

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