By Deborah Ricketts
Have you been feeling a little tense, or stressed lately and searching for a natural stress reliever? Why not try your hand at gardening? Multiple studies have proven that gardening can naturally bring you back from the brink. Here are a few reasons why gardening is the ultimate stress buster.
1. Patience is a virtue
Whether it’s a community garden, a singular bonsai, a few pots on your balcony, or a large-scale planned-out design, the act of tending to a garden requires patience. You create your vision over a period of time, watering, weeding, tending to soil, planting and digging. With each visit to your garden space, you can observe the changes and adapt your approach as you see fit. It gently teaches patience as you watch your fruits, flowers or foliage grow. While tending to your garden with love, creativity and patience, you’re inadvertently distracting yourself from the everyday stresses and creating a space for growth and not solely for your plants.
2. Brighten up in the sunshine
The sun can not only brighten the day, but also your mood! Soaking up the sun’s rays is a natural mood booster! According to the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association, exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain associated with boosting feelings of calm and focus.
3. Physical fitness
When you’re out in the garden, you’re moving around! Gardening requires a level of physical exercise which in turn can release feel-good endorphins. Whether it’s filling a wheel barrow with soil and moving it from one end of the garden to the other, sitting on a garden seat – weeding, or digging a hole to re-pot your plant, you’re moving your body, and this helps combat stress.
4. Unplug, connect, reset in nature
So much of our time is spent at work, on a device or plugged into something. Gardening provides an opportunity to un-plug and re-connect with nature. To be present; feel the breeze in your hair, breathe in the fragrant aromas of flowers, listen to the sounds of birds chirping, enjoy the cold yet grounding feeling of your hands on earth. Gardening is a welcome distraction from the daily stressors and provides a connectedness back to mother nature.
5. Reap what you sow
Caring for another living thing is healing, it distracts you from your current stresses and re-focuses you on a positive act. You gain new skills and enjoyment from repeated visits to your ever-changing garden. If you’re tending to the weeds, or gaining enjoyment from a sanctuary filled with colourful flowers, or possibly harvesting fruit and vegetables from a patch… you reap what you sow, this is an ultimate mood booster, and provides a sense of achievement.
Leave it to mother nature to heal and nurture you back to a calm and centred state of mind. So next time you’re feeling frazzled, don’t reach for the block of chocolate, throw on the gardening gloves, step outside and experience the difference gardening can bring.