(StatePoint) Gardening isn’t just a way to beautify outdoor spaces and grow delicious foods. According to those who spend a lot of time in the yard, getting out of the house can also support your health.
Legendary soccer coach, Vince Dooley, said, “Gardening is good for the mind, and it is good for the soul and body.” “I enjoy being out in the garden, and when I’m done, I feel like I’ve done something, and I feel good.”
Landscape architect Doug Scott of Redeem Your Ground visited Dooley in Athens, Ga. To discuss gardening and mental health. Here are some of the ideas they shared:
Active Benefits: Gardening exercises the body and purifies the mind. Studies show that increased outdoor exposure leads to fewer long-term health issues, helping to improve cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, strength, and dexterity — all of which leads to better mental health. Growing, planting, harvesting and maintaining plants gives you an immediate emotional boost. why? Gardening helps nurture the instincts and restore a sense of hope and purpose, which ultimately leads to improved self-esteem.
• Negative benefits: Don’t have a green thumb? do not worry. Scientific evidence proves that just being out in nature has positive effects on stress levels and brain chemistry. It can also lower blood pressure, increase focus, and improve mood. Furthermore, being outdoors provides a deeper sense of belonging and a new sense of purpose outside of the everyday.
design your garden
Scott advises designing your garden to reflect how you want to live outside. He usually builds “rooms” connected by winding paths for rest, relaxation and a sense of comfort. However, your outdoor spaces don’t always need to be quiet. They can encourage activity, too. If you enjoy your company, create gathering spaces. Or, if you have outdoor hobbies like exercising, drawing, or writing, you can designate areas for them.
Finally, Scott recommends designing your garden to awaken your five senses. Here’s how:
1. Sight: Choose colors that are calm, or those that bring you happiness. A simple glance at an amazing group of plants or a favorite flower arrangement is sure to boost your mental health.
2. Taste: Growing your own food will provide you with an incredibly rewarding harvest. Not only will you be able to improve your meals with the fruits of your labour, but you will also gain personal satisfaction with the work well done.
3. Hearing: Among the plants and flowers, add combinations, such as wind chimes and water features, that will make soothing sounds. And with the new habitat you created, you will also enjoy the song of birds!
4. Touch: From the light, feathery textures of the petals to the rough surfaces of bark or bush stems, touch provides a deeper sense of connection to nature.
5. Smell: You can actually use aromatherapy indoors. Take the concept outside by growing fragrant flowers and herbs, so you can literally “stop smelling the roses”.
Scott and Dooley provide more insights in “Garden Therapy,” a recent episode of “Done-In-A-Weekend Projects,” an original series from lawn care equipment manufacturer, Exmark. To watch the video, visit Backyard Life, part of a unique multimedia destination with a focus on helping homeowners make the most of their outdoor spaces. There you can also download additional tips and view other Exmark Original Series videos.
By gardening, your mental health will be better off. Just make sure to start small, simple and stress-free.
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