Gardening for Mental Health
Just about every girl loves getting flowers. I don't know about you, but flowers (and other plants for that matter) make me happy. Did you know that there are mental health benefits of gardening?
I struggled many years with anxiety and depression. I saw numerous doctors and therapists who helped me get back on track. I even turned to meds for awhile, since I figured being drugged was better than thinking about offing myself.
Fast forward a few years, to when I was shopping at a local grocery store and passed by the garden area. I remember how a small pot of pink mini roses caught my eye. I bought these on a whim and parked those beauties in a pretty container on the front porch of my apartment.
I still remember how those little flowers brightened my days while I was coming out of depression. A friend of mine told me that taking care of that little plant was a good sign, that meant I still had a reason to live and continue on.
When I moved from that apartment I temporarily stopped gardening due to circumstances, although I dreamed of starting up another garden. Several years ago, while experiencing anxiety, I started up gardening again and as they say, the rest is history.
I've been pretty serious about gardening for a little over a year now. After a long and stressful day at work, looking at and taking care of my flowers and succulents makes me so happy, and drives all that stress away.
There are many health benefits of gardening, but I want to focus on the two that I can relate to:
anxiety and depression.
Gardening, especially if you have a number of plants, can become a physical activity. Working out has been shown to relieve anxiety. Planting, picking up and putting down pots, moving dirt around and pruning after a certain amount of time can be physically draining.
As my friend noted, gardening showed that I had the desire to take care of things and in turn, take care of myself. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or focusing on how bad I was feeling at the time, I could temporarily focus on something else.
I love spending time in the sun and gardening gives me the opportunity to do so. The sun helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which in turn helps improve our moods. This is one of the many reasons I love living in Southern California!
Go Grow Those Flowers!
So, what's stopping you from buying just one plant? It could be a succulent, flowers, anything! I started with one small, inexpensive pot of mini roses, and now I can't stop buying and growing plants in my small balcony.
You can't put a price on your mental well being and happiness. Gardening doesn't require health insurance, meds, or doctor's bills.
I hope you learned something about some mental health benefits to gardening. So, go buy yourself a bouquet or plant and get to gardening! Let me know your thoughts below!
Ann Remo is the founder of Gardening Limited, a blog all about urban gardening in small spaces. She's a teacher by day and loves to share tips and tricks about gardening at night. She lives with her husband and two cats in Huntington Beach, CA. You can find her on Instagram @annremo.