It is no secret that Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with in terms of physical and mental healing. Just quietly sitting outside in the fresh air offers you a wealth of benefits such as improved mood and reduced stress levels.
One way to gain these benefits is to spend more time in your backyard gardening. Even the most novice of gardeners will agree that the serenity of nature is a powerful tool in decompressing our minds and grounding our spirits after a frantic day in the concrete jungles that surround us. It is an inexpensive and straightforward hobby that pays off in a big way and does not require much space.
Whether you have a small balcony or a considerably larger backyard, redesigning your garden is rewarding for both your physical and mental health. If you are considering going all out and installing water fountains for outdoors or want to convert your balcony into a hanging garden, now is the time to start. If you are contemplating whether gardening is for you, here are a few reasons why you should still consider it, especially if you are looking for a mental break:
The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D or also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is a fat-soluble compound that our bodies require to function correctly. Certain foods contain Vitamin D; however, one of the main ways our bodies source this compound is through exposure to direct sunlight. One of the primary benefits of Vitamin D is that it helps to fight off diseases. However, research also shows that it plays a crucial role in warding off anxiety and reducing symptoms of depression.
Studies show that the reason this compound is so active at keeping mood disorders at bay is that it activates certain enzymes that convert tryptophan into serotonin within the brain. Serotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating our sleeping patterns, appetite, and moods.
Redesigning your garden is a great way to get your blood and creative juices flowing, which is a tried and tested form of physical and mental activity. Even if you are redesigning a vegetable garden with limited space, it still requires some heavy lifting and strategic thinking.
According to research, exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost your mood and protect your mental health, even if it just involves 30 minutes of light activity. The long-term effects of exercise are known to elevate the secretion of serotonin and endorphins, which are like tiny molecules of happiness that lift our spirits and rev up our drive for life.
Patience and Control
There are very few things we can control in this world, and sometimes that can leave us feeling on edge. In a perfect world, everything would be fast and easy; however, we are far from living in an ideal world. Gardening teaches us to let go of things we cannot control. Nature will run its course, and all we can do is accept and embrace the unpredictability.
Gardening also teaches us how to be patient and gives us a sense of accomplishment. We cannot force a plant to flower, just like we cannot force water to flow upstream. It takes quite a bit of time, care, and maintenance to get your garden to bloom, and when it is ready to do so, the sense of achievement will be overwhelming. The end rewards are the perfect remedy for those individuals who suffer from low self-confidence. There is truly nothing quite like watching all your hard work come to life right before your eyes. Knowing your efforts and dedication have promoted the growth of beauty and life is quite the confidence-boosting reward.
Planting various vegetables and other edible plants will put you on the right path towards a healthier lifestyle. The types of foods we put into our bodies have a significant effect on our mental health and moods. Processed carbohydrate-rich foods are known to increase inflammation and kick our insulin levels and hormones out of balance, which can leave us feeling sluggish and blue. Healthier foods like leafy greens, fruit, and other vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals provide our brains and gastrointestinal tract with the fuel it needs to function correctly.
When these complex biological systems are working correctly, our bodies can produce the optimal number of hormones and enzymes that contribute towards protecting our brains from damage and alleviating symptoms associated with mood disorders and depression.