Gardening to help depression

How gardening helps fight depression

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Being outdoors and gardening can lift your spirits

Enjoying the outdoors, spending time as often as you can to keep yourself around nature and its inhabitants is one of life’s greatest joys. It’s why so many people take up gardening as a hobby. But what would surprise you is that science agrees that gardening’s good for your mind and your body. So, let’s look at how gardening helps fight depression:

What the science says

Research has found that allocating two hours per week to the outdoors is linked to better physical and mental health. It’s why plenty of doctors now prescribe outdoor activity and strolling to patients, an act known as “green prescriptions,” according to the National Health Service (NHS).

For instance, inhabitants of Shetland get nature prescriptions to walk and be active outdoors in nature. This prescription is handy for patients suffering from anxiety and depression.

Social prescriptions, a healthy non-medical treatment option, are already recommended by the NHS for treating depression, isolation, and anxiety. These treatments commonly involve the recommendation of patients to do volunteer or community work.

Such programs promote social and emotional wellbeing, which is why community gardening is gaining more traction. There are plenty of health benefits, but the treatment is also feasible in urban or residential areas.

And the statistics based on these treatments are mounting. Studies show that social prescriptions can alleviate anxiety levels and improve patients’ general health. They also seem to propose that social gardening help relieve the saturation of NHS services.

Gardening and its impact on nature

Studies show that gardening directly impacts people’s health, and partaking in community gardening also promotes people adopting healthier patterns. For example, some community or volunteer programs promote walking or biking to and from their projects to increase outdoor exposure and activity.

Eating a community garden’s yields can also help encourage patients to adopt locally grown fresh foods into their diets. Growing your food is the main activity seen in community gardening schemes, either for consumption or local sales.

Unlike gardening on personal allocations or private yards, community gardens involve collective effort and communication. Working together to achieve the same goal creates a tangible sense of camaraderie. So not only do you feel connected to nature, but you also form strong bonds with the gardening community as a whole.

Gardening also plays a crucial part in conserving nature by creating wildlife havens and habitats in urban areas.  This idea is heavily encouraging by many states and neighborhoods. The simple addition of a tiny pond in a local garden can create an entire ecosystem for different species.

Gardening is also a great solution to climate change. Growing vegetation helps reduce carbon levels and air pollution. Tree and bush roots also absorb water present in the soil, reducing the risk of potential floods.

So, building a positive relationship between people and nature help them appreciate the significance of greenery more, which is a healthy mindset to have. By forging this relationship, community gardens pave the way for community health and sustainability.

Community health improvements

Regarding community health, gardening is part of a mental health prevention and treatment process known as therapeutic social horticulture. Not only does it help physical and mental health on an individual basis, but it also promotes better communication and social skills. These skills alleviate symptoms of depression through more activity and sociability.

While there is no one specific trick to cure depression in each individual, gardening does seem to have some potential. Whether at an individual level or part of community programs, gardening promotes healthier mindsets and lifestyles.

For this very reason, many green countries are starting programs to improve community participation in gardening. But even if you cannot find such programs near you, all you need are the right tools and self-help books. Once you start gardening, you won’t have time to think about the lows as you enjoy your own time and time spent with other people.

Gardening as a passion project

Growing something with your own bare hands is a feeling every human can appreciate. It’s why parents are so firmly attached to their children. Gardening elicits a similar response in patients with depression. Growing plants promotes self-confidence and a feeling of responsibility, which is a considerable distraction from depressive episodes.

Gardening also opens up the mind to other possibilities, like different floral arrangements, flower types, and other creative ideas. Research suggests that picking up creative hobbies and ideas improves mental health significantly, which helps prevent depression.

Final thoughts

There isn’t any limit to how gardening helps fight depression. Whether it be physical, social, mental, or emotional health, your overall wellbeing vastly improves through gardening. It takes little time in a day and has net positive effects. So, the next time you’re feeling depressed, think about giving gardening a try.

Sources:

Prescribing Green Space
https://nhsforest.org/sites/default/files/Prescribing%20Green%20Space-3.pdf

Association of Leisure Activities With Physical and  Psychological Well-Being
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2863117/

Gardening for health
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334070/

Social prescribing
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6301369/

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