Daniel Calvin is a writer at Healey Green, the home of DAKOTA garden machinery. Here, he writes about the benefits of gardening on your mental and physical health.
Home gardens are often prized, their creative home owners taking great pride in their work. Those who work hard on their garden may be doing it to maintain the beauty of their home landscape, but there are also many health benefits that come with gardening.
Ask any landscaper; gardening isn’t all daisies and rose petals – it’s hard work. Lifting heavy loads of soil, moving large rocks and boulders, carrying away tree trunks. Your garden can be like nature’s gym. The physical work required to maintain a garden is a great exercise, but there are other great mental and physical benefits.
1) Relieves Stress
Gardening is one of the greatest natural stress relievers. When you are gardening, you are outside with fresh air and the calming sounds of chirping birds. Being out in nature clears the mind; it allows old cobwebs to be swept away. It has tremendous health benefits. Science can back this up as well…
A Japanese study let participants walk in either an urban area or through a forest, while having their heart rate and blood pressure measured. The participants walking through the forest showed much lower stress levels than those who walked through the city.
But this is something we all know anyway, at a much deeper and intuitive level. When we are surrounded by nature we breathe easier, our thoughts are less congested and we generally feel happier.
2) Growing Organic Fruits and Veggies
When you buy your fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, you really don’t know what they have been sprayed with, or what environments they were grown in. The use of pesticides has become commonplace, the world over. Pesticides have been shown to cause a number of health issues, short term and long term, including cancer.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables gives you peace of mind. You have control over the soil and are able to choose not to use pesticides, eliminating the mystery of not knowing what your product has been sprayed with.
There’s also nothing quite like making a salad with fresh veggies from the garden!
3) Having a Creative Project
Creativity feeds the soul! Your home’s garden is much like a painter’s canvas. It’s an open space of opportunity. Gardening is a very unique art form, as it merges the artist with nature. You are not working with inanimate materials; you are working with Mother Nature.
Creativity can create an upward spiral of positive emotions, pulling you into its momentum. When you start a garden project, you continue to be inspired, not just in your garden but wherever you look. You begin to look at the world in new ways, and this encourages you to be out in the garden even more… Resulting in elevated levels of wellbeing and a growing sense of creativity which goes back into your garden!
4) Tools, Tools, Tools
There’s something exciting about getting new tools and using them to shape your garden into your dream outdoor space.
Where there’s a job that needs to be done, there’s usually a tool that will do it, and finding the right tool for the job is super satisfying. Plus, there’s the added job of cleaning and maintaining your tools, which gives a sense of satisfaction when they’re all shiny and new again – and it gives you an excuse to hang out in your garden longer.
5) Gardening as Meditation
The mind slips into concentrated states when it’s at ease. Conversely, try meditating after an argument and you won’t get very far.
Gardening, as well as cultivating your outdoor space, cultivates a happy mind which can easily let go. When you are gardening, you are at one with the task at hand. It’s a great activity for cultivating simple mindfulness. As you are working in the garden, just letting go of whatever is on your mind and being present will help lead you towards inner peace.
6) Live Longer
Gardening can lower the risk of a heart attack by up to 27% and reduce the overall risk of death by up to 30%. It can be considered exercise, so it goes without saying that it can have tremendous benefits for your health. Gardening is also ideal for the elderly, who may be looking for a less strenuous way to meet their daily exercise needs.
The benefits of gardening are numerous, and with the technological age we are living in, it’s becoming ever more important to spend more time outdoors away from technology, and away from its sensory overload.
Gardening shouldn’t be a chore, but a healthy lifestyle that should be maintained and cultivated, just like the garden itself.
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