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Mental Health Benefits of Gardening: The Stone Pathway To Recovery After Loss

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 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening: The Stone Pathway To Recovery After Loss

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

More research shows that spending time in nature, especially  Mental Health Benefits of gardening and physical well-being. This could lead to less demand on the N.H.S. Healthcare providers should advise their patients to spend time in nature, tend gardens, and advocate for more trees and open community spaces to combat air pollution and climate change.

  Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

The concept of cultivating one’s food via gardening is not novel. The ability to reliably obtain healthy food was essential for ancient humans.

Vegetable gardens have become more critical over the years. Although food is readily available and inexpensive at grocery shops, gardening has recently become more popular.

A study found that the COVID-19 pandemic piqued people’s enthusiasm for gardening. As a result, people stayed indoors more. They tended gardens to connect with nature, relieve stress, and provide for their families.

Engaging with nature reduces attention fatigue. Gardening allows you to connect with nature on a more personal level. Working with the earth, taking in the aroma of plants and dirt, touching various textures, and admiring the verdant greenery and blossoms can be a mind-calming and grounding experience. Grounding exercises can alleviate anxieties, tension, and even pent-up rage.

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  • Anxiety and stress alleviation.
  • We are improving focus and concentration.
  • Mood improvement.
  • Increased capacity to remember information.
  • It enhanced contentment and joy in life.
  • Mitigation of PTSD.
  • Enhancement of imagination, efficiency, and focus.
  • Dementia symptoms lessened.
  • A confidence boost.
  1. Embracing a Graceful Attitude

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Struggling to manage situations beyond our control is a significant human sorrow. Gardening is a terrific method to practice accepting life’s unpredictability and the limits of our control, contributing to a sense of calm. For Lamp’l, who calls himself a “control freak,” “Every day is one more reminder from Mother Nature that I’m not in control.”

Midway through April, when my garden’s first tiny lettuces were ready to harvest, I learned to embrace change.

 I was not thrilled when my girls, who are four and eight years old, wanted to help me harvest the lettuce, even though I had been looking forward to spending time in the garden with them. How would I feel if somebody “messed up” my meticulously tended garden? Imagine if, instead of a leaf, they snapped off the stem.

Despite fearing they might damage something, I mustered the courage to let them into the garden. I realized what I had imagined as a “perfect garden” could be a somewhat solitary spot.

Accepting things as they are in the garden or elsewhere does not imply giving up. We focus on the things under our control and try our best to ignore or ignore anything else.

 According to Lamp’  the key to successful gardening is “preparing the best environment you can possibly make for your plants” and then stepping back to let nature do its thing. A higher power is responsible for your garden, just as they are for your life.

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  1. Overcoming Ideals of Perfection

If you tend to perfectionism, you would likely be cognizant of the consequences. Attempting perfection is a sure way to aggravate relationships, miss important deadlines, and end up frustrated. Another consequence is giving up altogether because you convince yourself, “Why bother if it can’t be perfect?”

Humans tend to be control freaks, so maybe gardening is the antidote to perfectionism. However, the number of uncontrollable variables, such as insect infestations, lousy weather, and ravenous rodents, means that no garden plan is foolproof.

 Long ago, our neighbor sprayed weed killer on a windy day, killing off many of my neighbor’s vegetable plants and ruining what was once a lovely garden.

This kind of thing, which Lamp’l referred to as “neutralizers for perfectionism,” is abundant in gardening. He said he is a perfectionist and has personally experienced the futility of trying to achieve perfection anywhere, particularly in the garden. Thus, there’s no point!

  1. Embracing a Growth Thinking Approach

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

There’s reason to celebrate when you can’t garden perfectly. A “growth” mindset, as described by psychologist Carol Dweck, can be fostered through gardening, whereas a “fixed” attitude cannot. 

When we adopt a growth mindset, we view learning as an ongoing process. We see setbacks not as failures but opportunities to grow and improve when things don’t go according to plan.

Our blunders can even be something to look forward to. With an attitude of “I will learn something new from my mistakes,” Lamp’l declared, “I love making mistakes.” Through those setbacks, you gain insight into what went wrong and why and the confidence to apply what you’ve learned to other situations. Making more mistakes can lead to more learning and development.

“Embracing a growth mindset has been incredibly beneficial for me.” when I’ve messed up in the garden. For example, I tried a new seeding technique this season, which was a disaster. The plants were so densely packed that they were practically entangled when it was time to transplant them to the garden beds.

 At first, I was anxious because I wanted to “do it the right way.” Still, then I reminded myself that the most important thing was to do my best and that I would receive valuable experience for next fall’s planting season.

  1. Making Contact With People

Supportive relationships are crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Gardening provides many chances to do just that. According to Lamp’l, “gardening is one of the best ways to connect strangers” and immediately become friends “because we have that gardening thing in common.”

When I meet other gardeners, we immediately click; there’s a lot to discuss, from the practical aspects of gardening to the deeper spiritual and emotional bonds we can form with our plants. “It’s a collective effort,” he continued, “and we’re all better when we share our experiences.”

  1. Making a Connection With Others and the World

Participating in gardening activities brings us closer to nature and one another. Eating food one has just gathered gives many people a profound sense of connectedness. “We all have an innate connection to the earth,” he added, “Our connection to the earth is evident when we consume what comes from it.”

Developing a bond with the land you nurture is essential to garden ownership. Growing my garden has made me hyper-aware of the weather—when the first and last frosts of the season occur, the amount of rain we’ve had, the temperature, and the exact location of the sun’s rays at different times of the day. Additionally, gardening brings us into close harmony with the changing seasons.

And as Lamp’l said, tending to one’s plants might make one feel “like a parent” to them. Like caring for a newborn child before they venture out into the world, he explained, “You nurture the seedlings and do everything you can for them,” before comparing it to planting a family in the ground.

 “They don’t call it a ‘nursery’ for nothing!” The lamp-bearer goes on. “I care deeply about the garden and put a lot of emotion into it.”

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  1. Taking a Green Bath

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Getting lost in nature is aptly described by the Japanese word “shinrin-yoku,” which means “forest bathing” in English. According to increasing studies, being in natural environments offers several benefits.

Research has shown that being in green spaces, or even just having a view of greenery, can have numerous positive effects, including a speedier recovery from surgery, less anxiety and sadness, and improved stress management.

One of the many advantages of having a garden at your doorstep is the convenience. While lounging around the yard is always an option, tending to a garden almost forces you to be outdoors daily.

  1. Living in the Now

One benefit of mindful presence is relationship pleasure and less emotional reactivity. The garden can provide a safe space to practice being present and engaged in the task.

In his garden, Lamp’l finds his “Zen moment”—when he can tune into his experience—as he expressed it. In the yard, for instance, he refrains from listening to podcasts despite his usual fondness for them. 

“That time is significant to me,” he stated. The sound of birdsong is something I strive for whenever I’m gardening. Please, don’t tell me anything else. I’m enjoying the peace.

I frequently observe the centering effect in my own garden. Last night, after a big storm, I sat in my yard in the last light of day, taking in everything around me. I was taken aback by how rapidly I felt at peace.

  1. Engaging in Exercise

According to Lamp’ l, gardening provides “no shortage of opportunities for physical activity,” and regular physical activity positively influences mood and anxiety levels. He keeps his muscles toned and his mood up by working in his garden daily, even when he can’t attend the gym regularly.

Plus, the motions have a lot of variety, which could lead to fewer R.U.I.s than with a more controlled workout.”When I have my wedding, I’ll be doing yoga poses. I can give up my gym membership.”

  1. Making Life Easier

As one might expect, spending time in nature can be a fantastic stress reliever. Grasping dirt in your fingers and feeling the life-giving sun on your skin are two of life’s most satisfying sensations.

 In my garden, I can feel the wind in my hair as I watch colorful Swiss chard and lettuce sway in the breeze, ripening strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, and clouds drift across the azure sky.

Set aside some time to relax in your yard. As Lamp’l pointed out, there’s always something more to do; thus, make an effort to de-clutter your life and enjoy the present moment.

  1. Choosing a Proper Diet

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Finally, the freshest and healthiest meals that can significantly affect our mental health are often the ones that grow in a garden. For instance, two studies have shown that changing one’s diet can help alleviate sadness.

Research in this field generally supports the “Mediterranean” diet, based on eating whole, minimally processed foods—just what your garden would produce. The satisfaction of knowing you had a hand in cultivating the food is a bonus.

The Link Between Plant Cultivation and Psychological Well-Being

Psychological research has shown that tending a garden improves mood. Horticulture has several health benefits, including improving one’s mental health and the satisfaction of seeing one’s efforts rewarded. In fact, there are cases where individuals suffering from conditions like anxiety and depression have been given gardening as a prescription. Let me explain it to you.

  1. It’s True! Soil Has Antidepressant Properties!

The effects of dirt on the brain are comparable to those of antidepressants despite its unappealing appearance and unsavory odor. The reason behind this is that soil typically contains “good” bacteria, which can modify brain regions to promote cheerful moods.

Specifically, research has demonstrated that Mycobacterium vaccae can stimulate neurons to produce the mood-regulating chemical serotonin. So, the benefits will increase as you expose yourself to this bacteria more through inhalation and physical touch.

2. The Greatest “Upper” is Getting Your Hands Filthy – Serotonin.

Research has shown that coming into contact with soil and a particular type of soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, causes our brains to release more serotonin, so getting your hands filthy in the garden can boost your serotonin levels. The feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin also boosts immunity and acts as a natural antidepressant. 

We live in a hyper-hygienic, germicidal, protective-clothing, health-and-safety-obsessed culture, yet new research shows that dirt is actually beneficial for us. In fact, studies have linked dirt deficiency in childhood to a variety of health problems, including asthma, allergies, and mental disorders.

I finally understand why I can’t help but garden barehanded and how much I relish the sensation of my bare hands working with dirt and compost.

3. People Develop a Strong Feeling of Accountability Through Gardening.

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Establishing a rapport with your plant is an inevitable byproduct of tending to any living creature. In addition to strengthening your connection with nature, it can teach you to care for and respect different life forms.

4. It Empowers us to Maintain Relationships With All Forms of Life.

Like the last point, gardening is a great way to divert your mind from your problems. Some people experience depressive states when they are too alone, but gardening might help reduce that. It also helps to be outside. One more thing you can do to feel more connected and less lonely is join a gardening group. This is a great way to meet new people and grow your own food.

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5. Gardening Teaches Us to Pay Closer Attention

Being mindful is paying close attention to what’s happening in the here and now. Research has shown that it can significantly affect your stress levels, but it’s kind of lost in today’s world. Practicing mindfulness can alleviate stress, lessen the likelihood of depression, ease sleeplessness, and increase efficiency. 

As you repot plants or care for a beloved succulent, gardening can help you concentrate on the present moment and bring your senses to a more relaxed state of mind.

6. Organic Glyphosate Residues Lower Serotonin and Dopamine Levels, 

However, according to another intriguing study I came across, there is an additional requirement for those mentioned above to function properly and sustain pleasant serotonin and dopamine levels.

 Organic soil and crops uncontaminated with herbicides like Roundup or Glyphosate seem to be the key to a successful outcome. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t eat non-organic foods grown on land treated with glyphosates, but this caveat applies to everything you eat.

Research conducted in 2018 found that the active element of Roundup, glyphosate, reduces the levels of serotonin and dopamine in mammals. Despite what Monsanto would have you believe, glyphosate and the other Roundup ingredients persist in everything from soil and water to plants and animals’ cells and organs. 

Research has shown that garments manufactured from Roundup-ready genetically modified cotton can leach glyphosate residues into our bloodstream and neurological systems.

In our relentless quest for happiness, it’s no surprise that there is an abundance of stress, sadness, addictions, and compulsions. In 1984, when I lived in Sydney for a while, I reached community centers in the inner west to inquire about gardening and permaculture programs. 

When I told the social worker that gardening helped me deal with stress, she became abrupt and said, “Listen, dear, we don’t need gardening classes. We need stress therapy classes.” After I responded with a loud “Huh!”, she abruptly ended our call. 

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Beginning Steps

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Are you ready to plant your own garden? Lamp’l has compiled a list of six suggestions to help newcomers out.

  1. Do it. You must resolve to begin regardless of your lack of knowledge regarding the outcome or the specifics of your task. “Why not give it a shot? What’s the worst that could happen?” Lamp’l inquired. The absolute worst that may happen is that you will get some knowledge. And that, without fail, justifies the cost of a plant.
  2. Take it easy at first. It’s easy to plant too much initially, as Lamp’l pointed out, and then you’ll have a lot of work to do. Consequently, you may experience feelings of being overwhelmed and disheartened. Therefore, begin, but do not overwhelm. Eventually, you can expand your garden. As a beginner, you must plant a seed or two in a container and place it near your home. That way, you can see it daily and tend to it quickly.
  3. Prioritize soil health. Regarding gardening, Lamp’l says you must start at the bottom and work your way up. “Life is in the soil.  Things improve when you keep your attention there. Instead of using synthetic chemicals, he says gardeners should “start feeding the soil with organic material.” The “single best thing you can add to the soil because there’s so much in it,” compost and other natural materials such as shredded bark, leaves, or old manure are all examples of what can be used in this way.
  4. Sow the seeds of your choice. Before planting any fruit or vegetable, consider “what you want to eat or what you like looking at,” as Lamp’l put it. “Grow something easy that proliferates, like a radish or lettuce.” I will keep with it because of the ease and immediate reward.
  5. Learn what your plants require. “Learn something about the plant before you stick it in the ground,” he said. “Check the plant tag for its sun/shade and wet/dry preferences and provide the ideal environment for it to thrive.” When it comes down to it, plants can’t “put the right plant in the right place.” If you do this, your plants will thank you.
  6. Be mindful of your plants. If you want to know what’s occurring in your garden, you should spend time there daily. In this manner, you can “be proactive when problems arise and circumvent potentially bigger problems,” as Lamp’l phrased it. Spending time in your yard has many advantages, so there’s no reason not to.

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