How can Gardening Reduce Stress? 

20 April 2022

We all know a good book, a warm bath, or a cup of tea can be relaxing and help us reduce stress. Many of us have faced considerable stress and anxiety both during and after the pandemic. Experiencing changes and resuming our usual activities can feel a little overwhelming!

For National Stress Awareness Month, Guideposts have an amazing way to help keep our bodies and minds healthy – gardening! Read on to learn how gardening can help with stress and boost your brain power.

1. Gardening can be social!

Just a few sessions of gardening a week can do wonders for our mental wellbeing and help reduce stress. Our members enjoy Dig ‘n’ Grow (above), where they can see who has the greenest fingers while spending quality time with others. Sometimes, it can be tricky to speak to new people and make new friends, but if you have a common interest, you suddenly have a lot to talk about! Having great friends and building a strong support network are both key in improving your wellbeing.

Gardening with family and friends is also a great way to open up and talk through any problems you may be experiencing, which is key in reducing stress and other negative emotions. Let friendship blossom and check out Dig ‘n’ Grow at Dig ‘n’ Grow – Guideposts Trust

2. Gardening Boosts Physical Activity

As any gardener will know, gardening can give you a very good workout! The NHS suggests we all aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week, and gardening certainly counts towards this. Think pushing a wheelbarrow, pulling out weeds, digging, and reaching up to trim plants. Because it uses every muscle group, it can strengthen our bones, muscles, and joints, and can even help improve coordination.

Exercise is a great stress buster, helping boost our endorphin levels, a feel-good hormone made by our brains. Exercise can help reduce muscle tension after a stressful day, too. For bonus points, try planting herbs known to reduce stress, such as lavender and chamomile. Learn more about stress and exercise at Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress – Mayo Clinic

photo credit: Neil Marshment

3. Gardening Improves Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a great way to reduce stress. This can be achieved through focusing on the present moment and physical sensations, while acknowledging and accepting your thoughts and feelings. It helps break the cycle of constantly thinking about stressful things that you cannot control, which in turn only leads to more stress. It allows you to think about how you feel right now rather than concentrating too much on the past.

Gardens offer a wealth of sensory experiences, from the sound of birds, to the smell of flowers, and the textures of leaves and soil. Focusing on what we can feel, hear, and smell right now can help us feel more grounded in the present, so we can leave past stressors behind.

4. Gardening Boosts Creativity!

Gardening is one of the most creative hobbies out there. From choosing plants to designing rock gardens and ponds, gardening can allow your imagination to run wild. Creative activities can be great for letting you calmly reflect on your emotions, and can increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our brains. But it doesn’t stop there! Gardening offers a positive and fun way to use up the pent-up energy stress and create.

Gardening combines creativity with exercise and social interaction, so next time you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, head out into the garden and reap the stress-busting benefits!

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