Study Confirms Gardening is Good for Your Mental Health

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Mental Health

If your home is your castle, your garden is your kingdom. And as many South African households with backyards know, ruling a kingdom isn’t all sunshine and proteas. From battling invasive plants to mowing the lawn when you’d rather have a lie-in, tending a garden can feel like a chore. Yet it can also be the ‘purest of all pleasures’, as the British philosopher Francis Bacon once put it – and its benefits are profound.

According to a new study recently published in The Lancet Planetary Health, simply taking the time to look after plants can help to improve your sense of wellbeing and reduce your risk of mental health problems. Novice gardeners were assigned small plots of land, with researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder assessing their mood, diet and exercise levels over the course of a year. Not only did participants increase their fibre intake and physical activity, but the months spent occasionally toiling in the soil also resulted in significant reductions in levels of perceived stress and anxiety.

READ MORE: How to Grow Your Own Herb Garden to Unlock the Freshest Health Benefits

The results support previous studies suggesting that gardening, whether in the context of a community garden or at your own home, can moderate stress and reduce signs of depression. No garden? Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and basil grow well indoors. It’s the easiest way for you to adopt a plant-based lifestyle.

READ MORE: Use This “Green” Hack to Improve Your Health Right Now

Three More Natural Ways to Help Serenity Bloom

Explore the Bushveld

Stressed South Africans can tackle burnout by immersing themselves in the bushveld. Studies show it has physiological and psychological benefits, from boosting immunity to alleviating depression.

Admire Indigenous Flowers

Looking at indigenous flowers like the protea or agapanthus can induce relaxation. Studies have shown an increase in perceptions of feeling ‘relaxed’, ‘comfortable’, and ‘natural’ when viewing these beautiful blooms.

Greening the Office

If office anxiety brings you down, try enriching your workplace with pot plants. A study found that rooms filled with plants not only made staff happier and feel higher levels of satisfaction but also boosted productivity by 15%.

From: Men’s Health UK

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