Can Your Garden Be Good For Your Mental Health?
Creating and tending a beautiful garden has many benefits – from getting in your daily allocation of Vitamin C, to producing your own home-grown vegetables and herbs, and even creating a space to share time with friends and family, but it can also give your mental health a huge boost.
Whether you just have a balcony or a small patio with a few window boxes, or a much larger space to enjoy, you can still enjoy the de-stressing aspect of maintaining your own connection with nature via an oasis of green. Studies have found that when subjects were asked to perform a stressful task, followed by either thirty minutes of reading or 30 minutes of gardening, those who spent the time outdoors weeding and planting experienced a significant dip in their levels of cortisol, the stress hormone and a full restoration to a positive state of mind, where as the group assigned reading had a decline in mood. It confirmed what many of us already know – that when we garden, we enter a flow state where we are meditatively focused on the manual task and the sensations of gardening, such as the breeze in our hair and the sunshine on our backs.
The Benefits Of Sunlight
With statistics showing that the average person spends a frightening 90 per cent of their life indoors, getting out into our gardens can be a vital connection to the outside world and gives us a reason to go outdoors and breathe in some fresh air. A condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder can strike in the winter months, when we don’t have much access to fresh air and sunlight, so having jobs to do in the garden is the ideal remedy.
Connecting With Nature
Today’s hectic, 24/7 digital culture means that we can feel quite far removed from nature, which isn’t great for our wellbeing. While we don’t necessarily have time for hiking and camping on a weekly basis, our gardens can provide an escape into nature that’s right on our doorsteps. Consider adding some features in the garden to help you relax and enjoy the moment – a swinging bench, recliner with comfy cushions, Garden Arbours or even a water feature or a fire pit can make your space somewhere you’d like to linger. Consider planting flowers to attract bees and butterflies into your space to make a natural haven away from the busy wider world.
Creating A Social Space
Our gardens can also allow us a space in which to socialise easily with friends and family, giving a little extra room to get everyone around and boost our feelings of happiness by surrounding ourselves with loved ones. Install some bench seating and create a focal point so that everyone can gather easily. Summer is the perfect time for creating a barbecue area, freshening up your garden furniture and adding a few touches such as storm lanterns filled with candles or solar powered fairy lights draped on the fences or across a pergola to really make your space look welcoming.