Ways gardening can boost your mental health

father and son gardening

Gardening used to have a fairly negative stereotype: it’s something you do when you’re retired, it’s a relatively boring activity that only older people seem to enjoy. But during the last ten to fifteen years, gardening has exploded in popularity.

According to the UK’s telegraph, gardening is now ‘cool’, with millennials, in particular, joining the gardening bandwagon. 77% of households practice some form of gardening, a record level. And the Covid-19 pandemic has put the rise of the home garden into overdrive.

One of the main drivers for the nurtured garden’s popularity is the evidence-based message that gardening leads to improved mental health. And this works on several levels, four of which are explored in more detail below.

Sunlight Can Correct Your Body’s Chemical Imbalances

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is commonly referred to as “winter depression”, and can lead to low mood, increased irritability, lethargy and sleepiness, an inability to get a good night’s sleep, and weight gain, amongst other symptoms.

SAD is generally linked to insufficient exposure to (natural) sunlight. This works in three ways: a) the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle is overproduced, leading to lethargy and lack of energy, b) decrease in the production of serotonin, the hormone that affects your sleep, mood, and appetite, and c) your circadian rhythm is thrown out of sync, disrupting your internal body clock.

The antidote to SAD is to ensure you get plenty of sunshine, even through the colder fall and winter months.

Gardening several times a week can help your body to produce melatonin and serotonin at the right levels, and correct your circadian rhythm, leading to improved mental health.

Healthy Veggies = Mood Boosters

Growing your own veggies is a fantastic way of boosting your mood. First, you’ll be eating something you’ve grown yourself. It’s not magically appeared on your plate via a plastic-wrapped product bought from the supermarket.

Instead, your garden patch veggies have been nurtured literally from the ground to your plate. It creates a far healthier and satisfying eating experience.

In addition, certain fruits and vegetables offer chemicals and vitamins that improve your mood on a chemical level. Blackberries, kale, broccoli, and spinach, amongst others, are fantastic sources of an organic vitamin boost.

Increased production of serotonin, for example, is a common byproduct of eating them every day.

Disrupt Your (Negative) Relationship with Technology

Research is increasingly indicating that there is a strong link between anxiety, depression, feelings of loneliness, and the average person’s overdependence on their smartphones. We’re pretty sure you’ve experienced any one of the following or even all of them…
 
 
Continue reading and learn more about gardening on Daisy Linden’s blog.
 
 

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