New year, new me....and still living through a global pandemic. With social distancing still required to stop the spread of Covid-19, pervious activities you may have used to clear your mind, might not be as available as in previous years. Regardless, intention setting is in full swing and at the top of my list is mental health.
Gardening has been around for centuries, however more recently, scientists and doctors are making the connection between gardening and improving one’s mental health. Explained in Richard Thompson’s article, Gardening for Health: A Regular Dose of Gardening, “In a Japanese study, viewing plants altered EEG (a test showing the participant’s brain activity) recordings and reduced stress, fear, anger and sadness, as well as reducing blood pressure, pulse rate and muscle tension.” Just viewing a garden produces these amazing benefits for your mental health!
As a gardener, there is something else that occurs when digging and planting - you enter a meditative state. This happens when you are in your “zone”. As described by Tiffany Shelton in the article, How To Use Gardening as Meditation, “During gardening, the process easily becomes a flow state; which is just a state consciousness of divine-like concentration with mindful and fluid action and perception.” Mediation is a direct link to the improvement of your mental health. With our minds running a mile a minute, meditation brings us back to our basics, our breath. Starting meditation cold turkey, siting in a quiet room while removing all thoughts, can be extremely difficult. Having an activity, such as gardening, to ease you into working with a clearer mind, may be a helpful transition.
While gardening may not replace traditional therapy, it’s a great alternative to siting on your phone scrolling through social media. 2021 has already proven to be a handful, so choose yourself. Choose gardening as a tool to improve your mental health this year.