The Benefits of Gardening for Mental Health

Someone once said, “Gardening adds years to your life, and life to your years.” It seems quite obvious when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Even something as small as a houseplant has been proven to reduce stress, increase energy and help to organise your thoughts – something probably most of us need in the mornings!

The benefits of gardening run far and wide, and we’re going to take a look at some of the effects that it has on your mental health.

1. Connecting to Nature

Having contact with nature in some form or another is rewarding in many ways. First and foremost, plants create oxygen, a vital element to our existence. While you’re working closely with your plants in the garden, it’s likely you’ll be exposed to a higher level of oxygen. This helps to fuel the body muscles, increase clarity, strengthen the immune system, and improve sleeping as well as one’s quality of life.

On top of this, through gardening, you create a relationship with your plot and become aware of the elements, such as the first and last frosts and seasonal temperatures. Generally, this increases the ability to concentrate and engage.

2. Sense of Achievement

Forming a relationship with your plot comes hand in hand with also having a sense of achievement and accomplishment at milestones, such as when your flowers bloom, or your vegetables are ready to harvest. Nurturing a plant from the beginning through to the end creates a feeling of anticipation as well as a sense of structure and meaning. These sentiments boost our confidence and encourage our learning.

3. Physical Exercise

Regular physical labour in the garden has been proven to have similar long-term effects on our health as going to the gym. This is particularly due to the varied movements, positions and stretches you have to engage in.

Like gym-goers, people often notice that their garden activities reduce depression, lower anxiety and boost mood.

4. Stress Reduction

This brings us to another effect of gardening: reduced stress. Such a hands-on job requires you to be in the moment and focus on your plot. This means whatever worries you’ve encountered that day have to be pushed to the side while you tend to the garden. As well as this, the fresh air and scents of flowers and plants help to relieve stress.

5. Sunshine, Serotonin and Melatonin

Probably the most obvious point of all: being out in the sun for a few hours at a time will naturally make you much happier because it’s triggering one of the body’s happiest chemicals.

On top of this, fresh air also activates melatonin, a chemical involved in sleep regulation. You read that right, gardening helps you sleep better!

Has this blog made you want to get to know your garden? Check out our online shop for your small garden tools, or visit one of our hire centres for the bigger jobs!

The above article was published on 9th March 2022, and is subject to change and further guidance.