How does gardening help mental health?
Recently I was asked to speak at a Beyond Blue garden release day held at Majors Mulch in West Wyalong. My initial thoughts were 'I probably don't know enough about gardening to speak at a garden release day', however upon further thought I realised that, aside from being a bit of a green thumb myself, there is a very strong connection between gardening and mental health.
Why is it that there is nothing like coming home to your own bit of oasis after a long hard day at work, particularly if you are a farmer during a hot and dry summer??? Is it because there is a strong sense of accomplishment for all of your hard work in the garden? Or is it because green is one of the most relaxing and soothing colours??? Why does it help you wind down and relax???
I thought I would explore this theory a bit more and came across a study conducted by Beyond Blue in 2010 and one of their key finding was "those living in areas with few green spaces have higher morbidity levels for a number of diseases, including anxiety and depression" and the take home messages were;
1.) There is a significant relationship between mental health and greenness.
2.) The range of psychological benefits for people who visit green, open spaces is vast and includes improved mood, lower levels of anxiety, lower stress levels, lower levels of depression and increased physical activity.
3.) Participating in health-promoting group activities such as hiking, physical activities and gardening also has a range of benefits for health and well-being.
My conclusions are therefore that physical and therapeutic benefits of gardening 'real' and do contribute to improved mental health and wellbeing - and get your gardening gloves on!!
I have attached a link to the study for those who are interested in reading a bit more https://www.beyondblue.org.au/about-us/research-projects/research-projects/beyond-blue-to-green-the-health-benefits-of-contact-with-nature-in-a-park-context-literature-review