Mental wellbeing and gardening
It's no secret that gardening has some serious mental health benefits, with everyone from Psychology Today to the RHS documenting its advantages. With more people getting out in their gardens than ever, we thought we'd take a look at just why gardening during the lockdown (and any time) is so important for our mental health.
Bringing us back to nature
In many ways, these benefits seem like common sense. After all, of course something that brings us closer to nature will be good for us mind, body and soul. In our increasingly busy and urbanised world, a little bit of greenery can go a long way in helping us to destress and relax.
Then Japanese concept of “shinrin-yoku” or “forest bathing” offers an explanation here. A form of nature therapy, forest bathing involves surrounding oneself in natural greenery to gain physiological and psychological benefits. Forest bathing has been shown to help with physical recovery as well as provide relief from conditions such as anxiety and depression, and if you're lucky enough to have a garden, it's something you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Mindfulness refers to being present in the moment. It has long been linked to a number of positive outcomes, like relationship satisfaction, lower stress and less emotional reactivity. Our gardens offer protected and personal spaces for us to be at one with nature, as a respite from our busy and urbanised worlds. For many, gardening offers an outlet, to be consciously “doing” a task in the moment and observing the world as it is in the present moment.
Offering control and responsibility
So much of our daily stress and anxiety is about things that are out of our control. Gardening gives us a sense of control over our surroundings. This sense of control can be therapeutic when other aspects of life aren't going to plan.
And hand in hand with this sense of control is one of responsibility. Gardening not only allows us to control a little part of the world, it also gives us purpose; we're responsible for keeping that little plot of land alive.
During this time, whilst so much is uncertain and out of our control, it's no surprise that many people have turned to gardening and nature as an outlet. We want to know how you've been spending your time during the lockdown. Share your words of positivity and acts of kindness with us by email or by using #InspiredByKindness on social media.