Modern life provides plenty of stress and anxiety. Those with a demanding job that requires using all your mental and physical energy may feel it more than others. Finding a healthy way to relax and regroup can prove difficult. However, nature provides one of the best ways to get back to a peaceful place.
That’s the reason behind Hope Grows creating gardens for caregivers. Gardens provide a temporary respite from the important work caregivers do. Putting yourself into nature places you in an environment that can rejuvenate mind, body and spirit.
What follows represents some of the way gardening can benefit your health.
Gardening Reduces Stress
People often don’t realize how stressed they are until they get into a relaxing situation. Gardening provides just such a situation. Focusing on caring for living plants allows the rest of your troubles to fall away. The tasks can prove gentle on the mind and spirit. They also provide a level of complexity that engages the mind. A study in The Netherlands also found lower cortisol levels in those who practice gardening. High cortisol levels can lead to heart disease and obesity, among other issues.
Reconnecting to Nature
Gardening allows a person to reconnect to a “primal state,” according to James Jiler, founder of Urban Greenworks, a Miami-based company that provides gardens in underserved communities and prisons. “A lot of people [understand] that experience,” he told CNN. “They may not be able to put it into words, but they understand what’s happening.” If the garden includes plants for food, it can also help encourage healthy eating habits.
Most doctors recommend between two to three hours of moderate heart exercise each week. Gardening helps achieve that goal. And unlike running or walking, having a garden to tend provides an enjoyable experience that can motivate a person to get outside and get the exercise they need. Gardening can also help with increasing strength and maintaining (or even improving) hand dexterity.
Gardening also helps with mental health. According to experts, gardening can improve mental health through a combination of exercise, experiencing natural surroundings, stimulation of the brain and the satisfaction one feels by completing a task well.
Symbol of Hope
Plants, particularly flowering plants, also can provide symbols of hope for people who tend a garden. Hope Grows uses an almond blossom for its logo, symbolizing hope. Putting yourself in nature also goes beyond symbolism. The biologist Edward O. Wilson promoted a theory that deep inside, people want to bond with other living things and participate with others in life.
These show just some of the ways that gardening can help with your both your mental and physical health. People have always known instinctively that gardening offers simple pleasures, but the benefits go deeper than many may know. For those who want a break from a stressful world, gardening can provide the answer they have searched for and improve their quality of life.