If you’re looking for a way to get some physical exercise, breathe deeply, and relieve stress, look no further than your garden. Planting and tending a garden is an excellent way to alleviate anxiety and create a quiet respite amidst a busy life.
Why Gardening Works to Relieve Stress
Some people see a garden as a chore and others see it as a bountiful opportunity for organic, delicious food. In truth, it can be a little bit of both. Still planting a garden produces a long list of benefits with little or no downside.
- Physical exertion: Gardening is physical work. Activities such as digging, planting, raking, pruning, weeding, and harvesting provide a physical outlet for the tension we store in our bodies. There’s nothing like a little manual labor to relieve stress.
- Sunlight: Gardening exposes you to sunlight and fresh air, both proven mood boosters. It allows you to soak up the vitamin D as well as the light that triggers a happy response in the brain.
- Meditation: Anyone who has spent hours weeding the garden understands the meditative quality of the task. Gardening is often repetitive and focused. It offers a quiet space for contemplation. You may feel more clear after time spent in the garden, even if you haven’t been thinking about anything of importance. It allows a space for your brain to take a break.
- Perspective: Gardening is an act of hope. We plant seeds and trust that they will grow. Tending to a garden is a way of stepping outside of ourselves and it helps to put things in perspective. Nurturing something outside of ourselves shifts the focus away from self and this can be valuable in times of anxiety and stress.
If you’ve never gardened before, it can feel intimidating to start—but it doesn’t have to be. A garden can be as big or small as you want it to be. Some people garden large patches of land, while others choose small container gardens on a patio. Choose what feels right for you. A few tips:
- Start small.
- Plant things you love. If you love the beauty of flowers, grow flowers. If you love the idea of healthy, organic produce, grow vegetables.
- Make time for it. Gardens need regular attention. Make it a priority, lest it turns into a stressor instead of a stress reliever.