Many of you may know I have battled depression since my early teens. If you haven’t seen my post about my struggle you can read about it here Beating Depression and Learning to Live again. And one of the many things, I do to help me deal with my Anxiety and low days is Growing Organic Vegetables in my Small Garden. So How does Gardening and Growing Vegetables Help your Mental Health?
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There’s tremendous therapy to be found in the garden.
Study after study is proving that working in the garden has tangible, positive effects on our mental health.
In many countries now it is even being prescribed as medicine.
Dr Matilda Van Den Bosch is a Swedish researcher who has looked at the impact of green space on mental health. Her research, published in the journal Physiology and Behaviour, suggests the sounds of nature alone can be beneficial. Like wind whistling through the trees and a bubbling stream which reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in humans.
Gardening and Growing Vegetables help your Mental Health because:
It can be great physical exercise – which in turn helps boost your mood by releasing endorphins – our body’s own natural feel-good hormone.
- You can work at your own pace and in small steps doing as much or as little as you like
- Regular gardening can help bring a new structure to your life
- You can learn new skills which might be useful in other areas of your life, such as volunteering or employment
- It can provide a great opportunity to meet people if you want to. For example by joining a gardening club or getting an allotment
- Gardening is fun, it can offer an opportunity to explore your creativity
- Tending plants can literally give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning
- If you are finding everyday life hard to cope with, gardening outside could even help you take the first step out of the house
You don’t have to grow vegetables and herbs like me. If growing flowers is your thing that is what you should do. Personally, I love to mix my passion for gardening with my passion for cooking.
You can start off gardening small with a window box or a plant pot. You don’t need even need a Garden. I have grown veggies in a tiny concrete square yard in the centre of Dublin. My raspberries were amazing !!
Gardening can also be Cheap Therapy
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get started.
- Get some cheap or free seeds from friends. Some companies like Seeds Now do Sampler seed for 99c
- A bag of compost is €1.99 in Aldi
- You can use Cheap and Cheerful Seed pots made from toilet rolls to get you started.
- OR make your own Garden Planters out of recycled plastic tubs
May is also National Mental Health Month in the USA and here in Ireland it is Green Ribbon Month
See Change, the National Stigma Reduction Partnership and their 90 partner organizations are rolling out month-long national Green Ribbon Campaign to get people talking openly about mental health problems in May 2017
More than 500,000 green ribbons will be distributed nationwide free of charge to spark a national conversation about mental health in boardrooms, break rooms, chat rooms, clubhouses, arts venues, college campuses and around kitchen tables throughout Ireland. Our aim is to make the month of May every year synonymous with promoting open conversation of mental health and challenging the stigma of mental health problems.
If you sign up for The Snapshot and Snippets newsletter you will get my Beginner’s Vegetable Gardening guides and weekly quick growing guides and recipes for what you grow !! Start Gardening and start your journey to mental wellness.
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