People try gardening for various reasons. Maybe you’ve had a lifelong curiosity about how to raise plants, or you decided to start a new hobby on a whim. Whatever your motivations, gardening can add joy and peace to your life in surprising ways.
10 Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Gardening
1. You Develop Self-Confidence
Learning a new skill is empowering, which results in more self-confidence. When you have more confidence in yourself, the sky is the limit. Channel that new empowerment into your personal or professional life, then return to your garden to continue developing your skills.
2. You Lower Your Stress
Getting outside and working with plants lowers high stress levels because it redirects your energy. The act of getting hands-on with nature and being in the sunlight are two of the most significant stress-fighting factors.
3. Your Heart Health Improves
When you avoid dealing with continual stress, you improve your heart health immediately because you don’t experience high blood pressure and stress hormones. Plus, you may harvest vegetables and improve your diet if you grow food.
4. You Breathe Cleaner Air
Growing vegetables makes you less reliant on food from the grocery store, which helps the environment. Agricultural production causes over 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, but not when that food comes from a small backyard garden. Your hard work results in cleaner air for everyone to breathe and improves the planet’s health.
5. You Develop Coordination
Handling small seeds and gardening tools enhances your hand-eye coordination by working your fine motor skills. This is an essential ability that can deteriorate with age, so maintain your health with a little time in your garden. Even if you only raise potted plants on your back porch, you’ll still use your fine motor skills in new ways that refine them with practice.
6. You Learn to Plan
You might be able to grow flowers on a whim, but more challenging plants require planning. Planning for seasonal gardening and the daily care each plant needs will translate to better planning in other aspects of your life. As you improve your ability to think about the future and strategize how to move forward, you can use those skills to better your personal and professional life.
7. You Become Happier
Every time you successfully watch your flowers bloom or harvest vegetables, your lowered stress balances out with increased happiness. Take pride in your work, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Every time you leave the garden with dirt on your hands and a grin on your face, it improves your outlook on life and your mental health.
8. You Get More Vitamin D
Sunshine naturally provides vitamin D, which you may not get from your diet. Vitamin D is essential because it boosts the immune system and regulates nutrient absorption, so it’s a long-term health benefit of spending a few minutes in your garden every day.
9. You Eat Healthier
If you’re up for a new challenge, your future might hold a variety of home-grown fruits and vegetables. Improving your diet helps every aspect of your mental and physical health, especially if you harvest food grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and pest treatments.
10. You Release Frustration and Anger
As you spend your time digging, cutting and pulling weeds, you’ll vent pent up anger and frustration from what’s going on in your life. The act of gardening releases these feelings and puts you back in control, relieving the mental toll of negative emotions.
Journal About Your Experiences
These 10 mental and physical benefits of gardening are just the beginning of how the hobby can improve your life. Journal about your experiences to narrow them down and discover precisely how gardening makes your life more enjoyable.
Emily covers topics in sustainability and green living. You can read more of her work on her site, Conservation Folks.