Some people think depression, anxiety, and similar issues are not very important. They believe you can just “get over it” or find something to take your mind off those problems. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Depression, anxiety, and similar disorders are very real and powerful.
As researchers look for new ways to help treat these problems, an old treatment has started getting more attention. Gardening turns out to have many benefits for your mental health. And as you can see below, these problems can affect more than just your mood.
The Importance Of Mental Well-Being
These disorders do a lot more than just make you sad or anxious. Your mental health is important because it affects so much in your life. The Huffington Post lists several benefits you gain with improved mental health, including:
Improved financial conditions as you focus better on work.
A lower chance of being the victim of a crime.
Better physical health.
In fact, your body is directly affected by your mental health. Studies have shown that stress and depression can hurt your immune system, leading to more illnesses. And when you’re mental health suffers, you’re less likely to take care of your health because it’s just too much to handle. Missed doctor appointments, poor hygiene, and unhealthy habits all increase with mental health problems.
Gardens Help In Many Ways
Then what can you do to help your mental health? Therapy and medication are two valid forms of treatment, but a new and unusual one has been getting more attention lately: Starting a garden.
As NPR reports, the exact reasons why are not fully clear to scientists. However, what is clear is how gardens help. Studies have shown that gardening reduces cortisol, the so-called “stress” hormone. It also helps people improve their self-esteem as they create something that grows. Both can help you fight mental health problems.
Gardening is great for your physical health too. Although gardening is low-impact exercise, exercise is exercise no matter which way you put it. Pulling weeds, watering plants, and digging in the dirt are all ways to get your heart rate up and work up a sheen of sweat. Getting down in the dirt also exposes you to a bacteria called mycobacterium vaccae, which is known for its immune system boost and anti-depressant effects. As a bonus, if you grow your own fruits, veggies, and herbs, your new hobby can give your diet a healthy boost too.
Start Growing Today
Again, therapy and medication are often vital components of any mental health treatment. However, starting a garden in your backyard can really help. Even if you don’t have a lot of space in your yard, a small garden in a pot or window box can benefit you. With a little bit of planning, you can build the perfect garden. Choose an area of your yard that gets plenty of sun, which not only benefits your plants, but enables you to soak up some vitamin D, which has been linked to improved mood and decreased depressive symptoms. Add your own personal touch with colorful stepping stones, lawn ornaments, or even a fountain. Your garden can become your oasis, so what are you waiting for? Get to growing!