by Maria Cannon
Finally, more people these days are starting to take mental health seriously. As awareness grows, so do methods of treating mental health issues like therapy.
One overlooked treatment for your mental health is gardening. Growing even a small garden at home has numerous benefits. Before you can convince your loved ones that a garden can help, you need to understand why your mental health is important.
Image Source: Pixabay
Why Your Mental State Matters
Some people think that your mental state isn’t all that important. Depression or anxiety is just something you can get past if you just try hard enough. To be honest, that is completely untrue. First, mental health issues are real and cannot be ignored. More importantly, they can be serious.
As the Daily Herald points out, people with mental health problems are more likely to be unemployed, disabled, or in jail. Suicide risks are much higher with mental illness, and it can interfere with your job or school performance. Your mental state truly matters.
Unfortunately, many people develop negative coping strategies when faced with such problems. Study.com lists several of the most common:
- Comfort eating or overeating. This is when you turn to food to deal with the pain, but it leads to obesity and physical health problems.
- Compulsive behaviors, such as shopping as “retail therapy” or gambling.
- Self-harm. Suicide is definitely one version, but it can also mean cutting or refusing to take prescriptions that keep you healthy.
- Addiction. Drugs and alcohol give temporary relief, so it’s not hard to start abusing them.
How Gardens Can Help
Then what can you do to help avoid these negative coping strategies? Therapy and medication are both excellent ways, but there’s one that’s getting more attention these days: gardening. Psychology Today explains why:
- Gardening helps you relax and de-stress, which gives your mind time to heal.
- Working in nature increases your good hormones (serotonin and dopamine) while reducing your bad hormones (cortisol).
- Helping grow plants gives you a sense of purpose, control, and self-worth.
- Gardening keeps you connected to other living things.
Gardening is so good for your mental health that it can even reduce stress better than exercise. Speaking of which, gardening is also great exercise as well. As your body improves, so will your mind.
Tips For Successful Gardening
Now that you know how gardening helps you, you should know how to garden successfully. After all, you don’t want to watch your plants fail. The University of Illinois has a great guide to starting a successful garden. These include:
- Plan out your garden before doing anything.
- Grow plants recommended for your climate. (Speak to a garden supply store to identify which plants these would be.)
- Use compost or fertilizer to prepare the soil before planting.
- Use mulch to help control weeds and retain moisture in the soil.
Start Your Garden Today
Don’t listen to anyone who says mental health issues are insignificant. They have a huge impact on your quality of life, and you deserve some help. That’s why you should start gardening today. Once you get the right location, soil, and plants, you can start gardening and enjoy the decreased stress and increased happiness that comes with it.
About The Author
Maria has suffered from depression and anxiety for years. Her hobbies–gardening, quilting, sewing, and knitting–play a major role in maintaining her mental health. She lives in Dallas, Texas.