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5 ways gardening reduces stress and anxiety

 

Finding it hard to switch off? Your brain is so busy it's starting to make you feel stressed and anxious.  Here’s 5 ways that gardening can help you relax and feel calmer.

Allows your brain to be quiet

Do you find it hard to sit and do nothing when you’re supposed to be relaxing? You find yourself spending the whole time thinking about things you should be doing and feeling guilty for not doing them.

If this resonates then gardening is a perfect activity to help you quiet your busy mind. It is a form of active rest.  Which is when you do light activity that is enough to keep you mind active but not to the point that it’s stressed.

repetitive gardening activities such as sowing seeds can help your brain to quiet and reduce stress and anxiety

Many gardening activities are repetitive, sowing seeds, weeding, watering, pruning. It is this repetitiveness that allows you to switch off your ever running brain and begin to unwind and find some headspace.  This headspace allows you to process the emotions of the day and gives you the energy and the mental clarity to continue with the day.

Being in Nature

Who doesnt feel better after a long walk or some time outdoors? We all feel it but now there are some interesting scientific results to back it up:

  • One study showed that being outside in the fresh air for just 20-30 minutes lowers your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) by about 10%.  So whilst you’re outside mindfully weeding your flower beds you are actively reducing your stress levels.  
  • A second showed that being outdoors in a restorative environment helps your brain eliminate mental fatigue.  You know that feeling when you’ve got to get something done by 2pm but your brain feels really foggy.  Some time in the relaxing haven you’ve created can reduce your mental fatigue, improve your ability to focus and make you more efficient afterwards.
  • A third study showed that simply being in a green environment boosts our self-esteem and mood. More on that later…..

You can create a greener and restorative environment right outside your back door by growing some more plants!  Mind in Bloom Box will help you get started slowly, so your garden doesn’t add to the overwhelm.

Gets your body moving

Despite what you may think, gardening is very physical. Here are a few of the gardening activities that will get the blood pumping and your muscles working:

Gardening activity

Area of the body that gets a workout

Carrying heavy watering cans from water butt or tap to your plants

Arms and back

Shovelling compost or manure on to your garden beds to improve the soil

Whole body but a focus on arms

Digging a hole to plant your new rose bush

Whole body with a focus on arms

Weeding your flower beds

Legs and core

Pruning a climbing plant up high

Engages the core and works the arms

 

Just pottering about in the garden will add a surprising number of steps to your daily total!

Encourages you to connect with others

No matter how well you plan your garden, you will always end up with some plants producing way more vegetables or flowers than you could ever possibly eat.

An excess or glut of courgettes or armfuls of brightly coloured dahlias are the perfect way to connect with neighbours and other local people.

There is nothing better than seeing a friend or neighbours face when you give them a bag filled to the brim with beans or a garden-gathered bunch of flowers just because.

The joy in a friends face when you give them a large bunch of homegrown flowers can boost your mental health and wellbeing

People may even stop to chat to you as they pass by and see you in the garden.  Often keen to share their gardening triumphs or tips.

And then there’s online.  There’s a thriving gardening community on instagram and more Facebook groups than you could ever keep up with. And of course there is my Mind in Bloom Box community. A growing community of new mindful gardeners, keen to learn to grow flowers and food, reconnect with themselves and others to practice mindful gardening.

Makes you feel proud

Once you have completed your gardening activity, whether that is weeding a flower bed, watering all your pots or sowing a tray full of seeds, it gives you an opportunity to sit back and admire what you have achieved. 

I recommend doing so with a cuppa and a choccie biccie of your choice (mine’s a chocolate and caramel hobnob).

Kendall sitting with a hot cup of tea in her hands and looking proudly at her garden

As busy women we don’t celebrate our achievements enough and often find ourselves dwelling on the things we haven’t completed. Or we’re on to the next thing on our to-do list.

Celebrating your achievements boosts your sense of pride and your self-esteem and in turn your confidence in your gardening abilities and yourself.

If you’d like support on getting started in your garden, subscribe to Mind in Bloom Box, the UK’s only mindful gardening subscription box and you’ll have me as your online gardening coach to help you out.

 

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