How Gardening Can Be Benificial to the Mental Health

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Being diagnosed with different kinds of mental health conditions is never easy for anyone. Besides being subjected to different kinds of discrimination and teasing, people often get the wrong impression because not everyone had been properly educated in terms of mental health conditions and diseases.

However, previous studies show that gardening is not only a great way to help conserve the environment, but another alternative to improve your mental health and emotional well-being. According to the lifestyle news site, Good Housekeeping, gardening also encourages you to engage in a little physical exercise — which studies have also proven to be a great contributor to maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, and balance your overall mental health stability.

“Nature has a huge impact on health and wellness,” explains Gwenn Fried, the manager of Horticulture Therapy from New York University Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation.

“We know that people's cortisol levels go down in a calm, green environment,” she added. Why is gardening good for your mental health?

Gardening enables you to get enough physical exercise

A lot of studies have already proven that exercise is a big boost to our mental health, but instead of spending so much of your time inside the gym, a report from the NHS states that just getting 150 minutes’ worth of moderate exercise per week is already beneficial for your physical health, according to the non-profit organization producing stress-related content, The American Institute of Stress.

One of the biggest reasons as to why gardening is so good for our mental health is because it helps us burn a lot of calories. According to newfound data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) gardening is a healthy alternative to engage in moderate-intensity exercise, where the figures show that you can burn at least 330 calories just by engaging in 1 hour of light gardening and yard work, every day — as compared to walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time, writes Good Housekeeping.

In fact, a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health also reveals that individuals who had more exposure to a community gardening program or joined gardening groups were more likely to have significantly lower body mass index (BMIs) as compared to those who didn’t participate in gardening.

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Furthermore, another study found out that gardening daily reduces the risk of developing heart and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks or strokes by 30 percent, reports the Select Health, a non-profit health insurance company which aims to serve individuals based in Utah and Idaho.

Gardening encourages you to eat healthier

Aside from physical exercise, gardening is an activity where you will most likely be surrounded by plants and nature — where you will most likely end up growing your own produce. In fact, a 2016 study conducted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences says that constant exposure to gardening encourages people to develop a habit of eating enough fruits and vegetables. Moreover, previous studies have already proven that incorporating more leafy and green vegetables in your overall diet can help you reduce the risks of developing mental health conditions and slows down the onset of cognitive conditions like Dementia.

Gardening can also help you save a lot of money for your weekly produce, where you can definitely ensure that the food you eat is always fresh and safe to eat, reports The American Institute of Stress.

Gardening lowers your stress levels

Meanwhile, another way where gardening boosts your mental health is the fact that it can lower your stress levels. Many of us may know that taking a walk in the outdoors helps us clear our heads and sedates our mood, but this is actually science-backed where a study conducted in the Netherlands states that just 30 minutes’ worth of gardening can already lower your stress levels and lift your mood, according to Select Health.

In addition, a 2017 meta-analysis published in the Preventive Medicine Reports journal also stated that gardening is an activity that has been positively-correlated with reduced levels of depression and anxiety disorders after analyzing 22 different case studies, reports Good Housekeeping. Said study also reveals that after having enough exposure to the said activity, the participants reported having an increased quality of life and confirmed that they had reduced mood disturbances. In other words, the study proved that gardening can not only lower your stress levels, but it also makes you happier.

Gardening gives you a sense of community

Lastly, gardening is extremely beneficial for your mental health because it helps provide a “sense of community” which prevents you from feeling lonely or isolated. In fact, a newfound study shows that loneliness is a major factor that increases one’s risk for premature death by 50 percent, but participating in activities like gardening can help you avoid that, and enables you to bond with your loved ones, and make new friends in the process, writes Select Health.

In fact, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Public Health states that individuals who engaged in gardening activities reported having significantly better self-esteem, improved moods, and had a better general sense of health, as compared to those who didn’t partake in the activity.

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