One of our counselling team leads, Sharon, tells us how gardening has many positive aspects to it from both a mental health perspective and a physical hobby or interest.
I was first exposed to gardening by my dad who is still an ambitious gardener at the age of 85. And even though he has had to adjust the space in which he gardens to allow of his mobility and energy, he still manages to produce a wide and healthy variety of crops every year.
This is one of the most rewarding things about gardening, you get to produce, and enjoy what you’ve grown. It sounds silly, but there is no better feeling than the joy of seeing the seedlings that you have planted weeks before begin to push through the soil. This in itself creates a huge sense of satisfaction, not to mention a positive effect on the wallet, particularly with the increased price of fresh food produce. There’s less waste, as we tend to harvest as we need it and the food is so much fresher than anything you can buy. Plus, we know exactly what is used to fertilise the soil so it’s much more sustainable and organic.
Another benefit of gardening is that it brings us much closer to nature. Though we tend to spend most of our times in doors or in cities, we are at heart, much more closely link to our early ancestors. We are guided by the seasons and by nature, and gardening reminds us of this synergy. It reminds us of the natural cycle of life, and of death or decay which we tend to avoid in our overly clinicalised cultures. There is also the ability to take ourselves away from the hustle and bustle of life, listen to the birds as you work and reminds us that you can’t rush Mother Nature.
There is also research that indicates there are microbes found in the soil that may help produce the hormone serotonin, which helps us feel happier and more relaxed helping to protect our mental health and well-being.