Why Starting A Garden Is A Great Activity For Mental Health

It's no secret that having hobbies to keep your mind and hands busy can help soothe racing thoughts. Plus, if you get outside, it's even more relaxing. Studies show that spending time in the great outdoors can seriously improve your mental state; when you're connecting with plants, these benefits are even more pronounced.

According to WebMD, one of gardening's primary benefits comes from its ability to elongate your attention span. Growing your own food or flowers takes time, helping you become more patient and present as you tend to your garden. In fact, the outlet notes that studies have found a link between spending time outside and a reduction in ADHD symptoms like feeling distracted. By forcing you to devote your full attention to the task at hand, gardening can give you greater peace of mind by keeping you present.

Of course, with less on your mind, your mood can improve while you relax and tend to your garden. Everyday Health cites studies that show a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms after gardening. Paul Camic, PhD, a professor of psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University and University College London, explained the findings of one such study to the outlet, "[The data showed that] gardening provided a space of one's own, a meaningful activity, increased feelings of connectedness, and improved physical and mental health."

Furthermore, one study found that simply being close to greenery for only 40 seconds improved participants' mood.

Gardening acts as a mindfulness exercise

In an age where people need multiple mindfulness tools to counteract the stress of their daily lives, it's no wonder that many have returned to "old school" practices like gardening. Another important aspect of this practice stems from its social impact. The Guardian explains that many people like to garden together or discuss best practices, keeping loneliness at bay. Since there are so many hiccups one can run into, gardening helps alleviate perfectionism that can lead to thoughts of self-criticism as well. Psychology Today explains that between the soil, the elements and beginner's luck, you never know what's going to happen with your plants. You'll develop a less-rigid attitude throughout the process — and likely beat yourself up less as you learn.

Plus, similar to the benefits of forest bathing, being surrounded by greenery has its own advantages. The outlet explains that surrounding yourself with this hue can mitigate depressive thoughts and anxiety while enhancing recovery from surgeries. While you're pulling weeds and getting into the dirt, you'll get some physical exercise as well. Keeping you in the moment and moving your body can positively impact your sense of wellbeing.

Even without the evidence from various studies, many people know that nature makes them feel their best. By starting a garden and enjoying the sense of accomplishment that comes with growing your own food, you can reap the benefits of tending to your own greenspace.