Gardening – sowing the seeds of wellness

Have you felt calmer being out in nature? Whether you own one spider plant, have a garden or balcony bursting with flowers or have a space for growing veggies, the act of nurturing plants and watching them grow can be therapeutic, providing a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Physically and emotionally it’s a fantastic boost and looking at the results can be really satisfying. It doesn’t matter if you have green fingers or have never gardened in your life gardens can be relaxing and help us manage stress, the benefits of cultivating plants extend way beyond the harvest.

If you’re not able to leave home or have no access to an area to garden, watching a nature programs or pictures of green spaces can also be beneficial. Our relationship with nature is important, appreciating the beauty plants and greenery can evoke positive emotions which are helpful for supporting good mental health, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The physical activity involved in gardening, combined with exposure to fresh air and sunlight, can help lower stress hormones, promoting a sense of wellbeing, often leading to a better nights sleep. 

Growing also requires planning and problem solving, helping keep the mind sharp and possibly reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

Gardening involves various physical activities such as digging, planting, weeding, and harvesting which contribute to improved flexibility, strength, and endurance. Exercising in nature can have better results than in a gym. It can lead to greater revitalisation, stress reduction, and motivation to exercise longer.

Gardening can also be a social activity, providing opportunities to connect with neighbours, friends, or community members who share similar interests. Social interactions have their own set of health benefits, including reduced feelings of loneliness and increased happiness. There are a variety of growing projects, local community gardens and allotments in the Brighton and Hove area, more information on how you can get involved and how to find them below.

By Jane Newman

Jane has a wealth of experience gained by working from health and wellbeing centres in the Sussex area since 2003.

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