Gardening Improves Your Mental Health

Gardening Improves Your Mental Health

As the seasons change again, you may notice a beckoning from the outdoors. After the long winter months, it is not uncommon to find yourself longing to be outdoors more. 

One fool proof way to log your outdoor hours is to spend time in your yard. Devoted gardeners will be the first to tell you how good it feels to sink your hands into the soil and watch new growth sprout as a reward for your efforts. But did you know there is scientific evidence to support these claims?

According to the National Library of Medicine, exposure to gardening is beneficial to both mental and physical health. A University of Florida study confirmed this with proof that gardening leading to lowered stress, anxiety and depression in healthy women. In addition to the benefits listed above, gardening is also cited to help with stress reduction, better memory, increased creativity, improvement of PTSD symptoms, limits the effects of dementia, and improved happiness and life satisfaction.

Boost Self-Esteem

Spending time on a new skill or hobby is a great way to build self-esteem. When we invest time in planting and caring for something, there is a sense of accomplishment, pride and ownership.

Lengthen Attention Span

Gardening requires patience and focus on a single activity at a time. In a fast-paced world with constant data coming at us from all angles, gardening can offer a wonderful opportunity to learn to concentrate on what is in front of you.

Improves Mood

Time outside in itself is likely to give your mood a boost. The act of gardening is proven to inspire peace and contentment in those who practice it. The activity gives you immediate items to focus on, which can reduce negative thoughts and feelings.

Health Benefits

In addition to mental health benefits, gardening gets you outdoors with plenty of fresh air and abundant vitamin D. Be sure to take precautions with sunscreen, sunhats, gloves and appropriate clothing. Plus – Weeding, raking and digging all provide excellent exercise.

Rewards of Labor

Aside from these other benefits to gardening, you will also get to reap the rewards of your labor. If you’ve invested in a vegetable garden, soon you will be enjoying vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh corn. Flower gardens will produce beautiful florals to enjoy and share with loved ones. Simple landscaping will set a more beautiful backdrop for your outdoor enjoyment.

Now that we have a good understanding of how gardening can benefit you, it’s time to get started. It’s easy to assume you don’t possess the coveted “green thumb,” but don’t let that stop you. We’re here to share a handful of tips and tricks to help and you’ll be gardening successfully before you know it.

Just Start, but Start Slow

When it comes to gardening, it can be intimidating knowing where to start. Experts recommend jumping in! It’s easy to get excited and want to go all in, but that can lead to planting too much and getting overwhelmed. Start with a manageable amount, and keep in mind that you can always add to your garden over time. Don’t fret too much if a plant dies. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn, and you can always try again.

The Ground Up

Your garden is only as good as the soil you start with. Experts recommend adding compost to your existing gardening beds, or anything else that you find in nature such as bark and shredded leaves. If you don’t have much space or aren’t able to garden outside, grab a couple of pots and set up a space indoors.

Grow What you Like

It’s far more rewarding to invest time into something you know you’ll enjoy. Choose your plants around what brings you joy. If you have a favorite flower, plant or vegetable, that’s a great one to start with. Keep in mind your growing area, as not all plants grow well in all climates.

Learn the Needs

Plants are all very different, and their needs can vary. Before you plant anything in the ground, take a few minutes to read the tag so you understand it’s preferences and needs, and can better care for it as it grows.

Be Present

With gardening of any kind, it’s important to keep an eye on things. Check in on your garden or plants at least once a day so you can interfere if something has gone wrong. You’ll also enjoy the thrill of seeing the progress each day.

Hopefully this information gets you off on the right foot with your own gardening adventures. We’ll leave you with one great resource: The Farmers' Almanac. Time-tested and generations approved, the Farmers’ Almanac is a collection of knowledge on weather, gardening and much more.

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