The trees are budding and the dandelions are popping their cheerful heads up everywhere you look. Spring has truly sprung! What better way to celebrate the change in weather than preparing for the garden season. Maybe you’ve pulled out your seed catalogs, chosen your favorite seeds to plant, tilled your soil or pulled the weeds from your garden beds. However you choose to welcome the new season, take a moment to appreciate the fact that your favorite pastime is also improving your mind, body and spirit.
Approaching gardening as a meditative practice can help to ground and reconnect.
Mood boosting moves
Have you ever entered your garden feeling a bit dreary or down, only to emerge an hour later light hearted and smiling? Maybe this caught you off guard, or maybe this was all part of your plan!
Approaching gardening as a meditative practice can help to ground and reconnect. Studies have shown that the act of engaging in gardening can actually decrease depression. The mere act of being distracted from problems or obligations by a sense of fascination and engagement with plant life helps to counter feelings of sadness and depression.
Dedicate 20 minutes each day to checking on your seedlings and plants. This small amount of time can go a long way to improving your emotional state. The fresh air isn’t bad either!
Stress reducing benefits
We all know that modern life can be stressful. Any given day there are expectations to meet at home and at work, phone calls to be answered, and emails to be returned. It’s easy to forget to take a moment to slow down, breathe, and reconnect with yourself.
Researchers have demonstrated that active participation in gardening activities can help reduce and manage stress. In fact, gardening has been shown to increase overall psychological well-being. You needn’t plan extravagant garden activities, or dedicate a full day to digging in the soil. Even 30 minutes to an hour can make an impact.
Mindfully watering your indoor and outdoor plants can help you to slow down and tune in. Or try spending a few minutes a day walking through a garden or other green space. It can go a long way to reduce you stress.
Fun for the family
Don’t forget about your children as well. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can decrease stress in children while helping to increase self-esteem and cognitive function. Gardening offers a wonderful opportunity for children to engage in the natural world while learning skills that can increase their sense of accomplishment and connect them to the food they eat.
Consider planting carrots, radishes, and edible flowers in your garden this year. These plants are simple for young children to care for and reap a delicious benefit.
Now for those of you who don’t have green thumbs, or the interest in developing one, there are still many great ways to benefit from plants this Spring. Researchers have shown that having plants present in an indoor office or work space can actually help to decrease stress, improve attention span, and decrease physical complaints and symptoms.
Consider adding a plant to your office or home kitchen. This small effort can have a long lasting impact. Choose something easy to care for such as spider plants, ficus or succulents. At the very least, it certainly makes you appreciate the colorful plants by your reception desk a little more.
Regardless of how you approach it, gardening can have a long lasting positive impact on your health and well-being. Take a moment to celebrate this hands on pastime as you welcome Spring into your life once again.
Danielle is a horticulture and animal interactions experiential guide at Sunrise Springs.