Benefits of Gardening for Stress Reduction | Part 1

Spring is here.

And here’s a great spring way to get mind and body working well. Planting a beautiful garden can be a great way to relieve stress!

Gardening is one of the fastest growing pastimes in the world, as well as one of the healthiest. As with any hobby that takes you away from the rat race of daily life, gardening and growing plants can help provide stress relief, improve your health, and even give you a new outlook on life.

Digging, raking, planting, pruning, and harvesting are physical activities that provide a constructive outlet for tensions that build up in our bodies and may lead to stress eat.

Gardening activities draw on your endurance, give you flexibility and strength, build muscle and strengthen the heart and lungs, as well as helping with weight control.

So get growing!

Start small and plant things that you will enjoy. If flowers make you happy, plant a few flowers. Maybe you would like to grow your own organic vegetables? Or herbs, such as parsley, dill, thyme, basil and oregano you need for an entire season of meals. Even the smell of fresh herbs is a great stress reliever per se, not to talk about great nutritional value. Even a small vegetable garden can save money as well not to talk about your health.

Get out in the garden and enjoy the unique combination of exercise, relaxation and rewards that gardening provides.

If a large garden sounds like too much work or you don’t have the room, think about trying micro-gardening. Grow your own plants - food or flowers in containers rather than in a plot of ground. The size of the garden is completely up to you.

Patio, balcony or porch, everything is fine for your micro-gardening. You may not even need to buy special pots. If you have old flowerpots, buckets, half-barrels or even concrete blocks, you have the makings of great gardening.

I don’t have a real garden myself. I grow salad, spinach and herbs in the containers on my balcony. Remember there's micro-gardening, and then there's MICRO-gardening.

Benefits of gardening

Getting More Sunlight:

Scientists have known for a while now that lack of sunlight can be detrimental to our mental health. Lack of sunlight can make you sleep too much, feel lifeless, crave the foods that increase your stress level, and even make you feel depressed. (In fact, there’s a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder that affects some people during winter months when there is less sunlight.)

Getting out and tending to the plants in your garden will help you get more of the much needed sunlight, which will also provides an influx of vitamin D, and the fresh air and actually improve your mood!

Being in the Nature:

When you are gardening, it takes you back to the basics of life. Being in touch with nature and being outdoors can help you feel more separated from the stressors of daily life. With the amount of time we spend indoors and deal with congested traffic, ringing cell phones, and working on a computer, getting your hands dirty in soil can give you a connection to nature. Having your piece of nature right outside your back door or balcony can help you feel some of this connection. 

Uninterrupted Me Time:

This is huge. This is something all women need the most. Gardening gives you time alone to work with the plants without the noise interruptions such as the television, your children, or the family animals. You can use the time to reflect on what is truly important in life. Or listen to relaxing music while you work. Doing something as rustic as gardening may also make you more appreciative of the modern luxuries that we have at our disposal today. 

Great Exercise:

Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress eating. Exercising releases endorphins, which are your body's own pain-killers. Endorphins create a sense of happiness and well-being. You can release powerful endorphins while working in your garden, if you plan your garden "workouts" to provide a steady level of activity.

You can create a garden workout by alternating movements while you are in the garden. When you garden, you will need to dig in the dirt, plant the seeds, then prune and harvest the plants. These activities help you build muscle, help you become more flexible, and it even helps strengthen your lungs and heart. It’s clear that we all must take responsibility for ourselves and do what we can to stay healthy.

Amazingly digging can be an aerobic activity after just 15 to 20 minutes. And the best news is that digging burns 329 calories per hour. That’s the equivalent of playing a doubles tennis match or waterskiing.

Gardening is a great way to relieve stress while still actually getting exercise at the same time. Your physical workout also helps boost feelings of well-being.

Take breaks as needed and if you are out in the sunshine, remember to stay hydrated.


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