Stop and Smell the Roses – Gardening for Stress Relief

Posted on by Margo Gladding

We all know that stress is everywhere and for many individuals it is unavoidable. However, while you may not be aware of it now, if not dealt with properly, stress can significantly affect your health and well-being. That is why it is so important that you find healthy ways to prevent and reduce your stress levels. Your health depends on it!

One of my favorite things to do when spring and summer arrive is to work in my yard and garden. From preparing the soil to enjoying the harvest, along with the many tasks in between, gardening can be incredibly rewarding and an excellent way to relieve stress. The physical act of digging, raking, and pruning are great for releasing tension. Not to mention, great exercise for your body too. In addition, sunshine provides vitamin D, a very important vitamin involved in immunity and promoting a positive mood.

Another wonderful part of gardening is connecting with nature, and allowing all of your senses to come alive. Planting a garden, no matter how big or small, allows you to slow down and experience the therapeutic effects of the great outdoors. We live in a fast paced world where we are often rushing from place to place. In a garden, there really is no way of rushing your plants to grow. In fact, observing your garden from day to day creates attention to detail as well as deep appreciation.

Gardening can also be a fantastic time for you to connect with yourself. It can be a time of quiet reflection and letting go of your worries. Your garden or backyard space can serve as a place of refuge from the busy world. When you are not working in your garden or yard, simply relax in it by sitting in a comfy chair or lying in a hammock.

Another benefit of gardening is the ability to grow your own food. This can help to reduce your financial stress by saving you money on your grocery bill. In addition, growing your own food reduces your environmental impact and can improve the health of you and your family. For children, gardens serve as wonderful hands on nutrition education that can increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

Starting your own garden may not be for everyone. And, rest assured that the health benefits don’t only come from having your own garden. Simply visiting a garden can be equally beneficial. Many hospitals now have healing gardens for patients, their families, and for staff. Studies show that for sick individuals, exposure to nature has been shown to improve healing, and lead to less medication use, shorter hospitalizations, and decreased anxiety and stress among family members.

Happy gardening!