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Positive Health Benefits of Gardening

Getting out into the garden can mean hard physical work at times, but the benefits and positive health implications of gardening are many. Though not always obvious at first glance, gardening is said to be good for the soul!

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin “Growing with the Seasons: A Sharing of Insights Into the Creative Aspects of Organic Gardening”. Book by Frank Giannangelo and Vicky Giannangelo, July 1, 2008.

 

Positive Health and a Feeling of Tranquillity

Gardening gets you outside in nature which can instill a feeling of tranquillity in you. Monks have used gardening as a form of encouraging a good mental mindset for centuries. Early studies showed that monks that were given gardening duties were often the most content. Whether this is because they used it as a grounding technique is not clear. It could also be because they were providing for their brothers with food and sustenance, something likely to release serotonin the feel-good hormone.

Sound, Smell & Touch

Focusing on a particular job does help to place you in ‘that moment’. If like me, you are one of those people who play over and over past mistakes, it provides a valuable distraction. A simple repetitive task can lead to meditative moments where you just slow things down and be aware of what you see in more detail. Becoming aware of what you are actually able to hear, smell what you can smell, touch and differentiate the various textures around you. Even taste what you have grown – assuming you know it is edible!

elderly-man-pruning-roses-in-his-gardenThis all places you in harmony with nature which has been proven to have a calming and soothing effect. The ability to spend moments watching and being captivated by birds, insects, and creatures that you disturb as you go relaxes and calms you. When you focus on one section, or one job at a time you can allocate a certain amount of time to do it. Doing so helps you not be overwhelmed if you have a very large garden.

If you are the type of person that runs on cortisol and adrenalin (regular extended periods of which can contribute to weight gain and type 2 diabetes) gardening often helps us to calm down and switch the production off or at least greatly reduce it.

Positive Health – Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

There are many physical benefits too. A healthy mind leads to a healthy body, and a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Gardening can increase your heart rate thus improving your circulation, increasing your levels of activity so counts as exercise. It can also help to reduce bone loss. Holding back the effects of osteoporosis through gentle impact, and the absorption of Vitamin D from the sun through the skin – increasing strength, flexibility, and coordination.

women-ready-to-dig-a-large-gardenOne Task

Focusing on a small area or one task can show you quick results and is a source of both long-term and immediate gratification. Weeding a bed or cutting the grass you get quick rewards. You can see what you have achieved and that will give you a mental uplifting boost. Nurturing a young plant into a glorious mature specimen feeds the longer-term gratification. The latter also gives you purpose and routine to your day. Watering and feeding, pruning, and trimming add to your routine… This can’t help but bring a smile to your face and warm your heart.

Family Activity

young-boys-watering-plantsGardening is also a fabulous opportunity to teach your kids and other family members about the food chain and nature. This enables you to pass on your knowledge and skills with plants boosting your, and their serotonin – the happy hormone!

Take a break!

During very turbulent and unsure times, positive health and your mental health become invaluable. Gardening gets you out of the house, away from technology and screen and negativity that is pouring from our TVs and radios. It allows you to take a break and choose when to catch up with what is going on in the manmade world.

Go and enjoy your garden!

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