I came across this article exploring the benefits of gardening for people with mental health ‘problems’ and thought it was a good ‘un.
It would be difficult for anyone to successfully argue that gardening or even being in a garden/nature does not positively increase mental well-being.
It is something we all intuitively know… to put it simply ‘its bloody obvious!!!’
But if you want hard evidence and facts or are interested in theories and studies on why/how gardening is beneficial to all sorts of people feeling under the weather – mentally or physically – and we all feel like that sometimes- then this is the paper for you…
Including perspectives from Environmental Psychology and a consideration of gardening as beneficial to social functioning. It also might help some people to get paid grafting …
I am not advocating gardening as a wonder cure. I am still me, at times I still have disgustingly severe bouts of depression and anxiety/panic and a new ‘symptom’ courtesy of my local mental health trust – surges of red hot, exploding anger … Also gardening has not cured me into being arsed about doing the washing up or dusting objects or sucking up muck with the hoover lol!!
But my quality of life has improved exponentially. I have now constructed an asylum up the allotment. A place to hide and feel safe from everything and anything and nothing..
There are so many facets to gardening, so many varied tasks, which you can match to a mood state. For example if you feel angry sometimes, then get an allotment with clay soil – whacking, smacking, thwacking and chopping the soil is great therapy – better out than in!! Plus its physically difficult to feel angry when you have exerted yourself all day in such a manner. A satisfying tiredness at the end of the day, rather than a drained, frantic lethargy…. Watering plants with a spray mister is very good for when I just want to sit quietly finking.. And so on …
The biggest issue in my life is no longer how am I going to self-manage my anxiety or hide the symptoms to the outside world – the stuff that keeps me awake at night is ‘are the potatoes ok’ and ‘are the sweet-peas being munched by slugs’… What a pleasant change… but like I said I’m still me – lol!!!
The paper finishes with a proposition that I have to agree with – that gardening as an activity is uniquely able to provide such a wide-ranging set of benefits.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – get shovelling muck!!!