I’m starting think that maybe….just maybe, spring is finally here.
Garden centres and nurseries are starting to ramp up operations and there are hints of green appearing if you squint juuust right.
I look forward to this time of year, gardening is one of my escapes–a way to break free from the busyness of life and life coaching. I take the time to focus on myself and to quiet my mind, finding my zen in trimming shrubs and nurturing plants to their potential.
Kristen K. Brown, author of The Happy Hour Effect: 12 Secrets to Minimize Stress and Maximize Life, says gardening can lift your soul.
Getting down & dirty in your garden can:
- Decrease stress
- Restore your attention
- Revive your mood
Gardening connects us to the Earth and to ourselves, allowing us to become more present in our lives and more aware and responsive to the world around us.
It can lead to a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when those first blooms of spring emerge from the fall-planted bulbs you weren’t sure would grow or when the first ripe tomato is ready for picking. How good does it feel to grab a few tomatoes off the vine, pick some herbs and whip up a fresh, delicious salad for lunch?
Grab Your Hoe
Some studies suggest the physical activity of gardening can lower the risk of developing dementia. Researchers found those who are physically active cut their risk of dementia by 50 per cent. The results indicated staying active maintains brain health and the combination of physical and mental activity has a positive influence on the mind.
Therapeutic horticulture is being used around the world to help a variety of groups with mental-health illnesses or developmental disorders. Tim Lang, a professor at the Centre for Food Policy at City University London in the United Kingdom, says horticultural therapy and community gardening can:
- Contribute to improved social interactions and community cohesion
- Reduce the occurrence of episodes of stress, and the severity of stress and associated depression
- Reduce reliance on medication, self-harming behaviour, and visits to psychiatric services,
- Improve alertness, cognitive abilities and social skills
- Alleviate symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, such as agitation and aggressive behaviour
- Provide productive manual activity and beneficial social interaction for people tackling drug and alcohol dependency
It’s amazing what getting a little dirt under your fingernails can do.
Research indicates exposing your lungs to fresh air, and the scents of flowers and plants, can help to relieve stress and anxiety. Fresh air can increase the amount of oxygen circulated to the cells in your body. Oxygen is also thought to affect the levels of serotonin released in the body which, in turn, contributes to feelings of happiness and relaxation and translates to greater energy and clarity of mind.
So get outside, get dirty and breathe deeply.