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The Positive Effects Gardening has on Your Mental Health

In light of Mental Health Awareness Week last week, we thought it would be appropriate to dedicate a blog to how gardening can have a positive effect on your mental health. While you have most likely heard this theory before, research on the matter proves it is, in fact, true – but what exactly is it about gardening that helps keep our mental health healthy?

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Gardening helps us to feel present and in the moment. As we sit indoors and continue to worry about even life’s simplest of problems, we could be distracting ourselves and putting an end to the unnecessary over thinking.

Listening, touching, smelling and seeing the great outdoors can really bring your wild thoughts to a calmer place. The anxious mind becomes peaceful and your mood begins to lift as you slowly become part of the present, rather than dwelling on the past and worrying about what could be.

Gardening may not be the most strenuous exercise, but it encourages us to be outside and any extra fresh air is good. It’s probably nothing you’ve not heard before, but exercise is amazing for our mental health – and the same effect can be achieved from gardening! It increases levels of serotonin and dopamine which are both hormones that make us feel happy and good while reducing the level of cortisol – a hormone which is associated with stress.

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Looking after plants gives us a sense of responsibility, learning how to take care of plants or getting back in touch with your mother nature is liberating. Growing veg & plants is a good way to learn how to respect and look after other living things, or if you have children, it’s a good way to get encourage them with the responsibility of taking care of someone/something else. There is nothing more rewarding than cooking with veg you’ve grown with your own hands.

Why take your aggression out on everyone who crosses your path when you have a shrub to shear? As well as releasing the happy hormones mentioned earlier, gardening also allows us to unleash all our pent up anger and aggression. The bitter-sweet thing about destruction in the garden is that almost everything will grow back – so those weeds growing out of control in your back garden, unleash some frustration on them. What a treat that will be to be able to hack them all down – as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment once you’ve finished! 

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