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Gardening for Well-Being

by Beth on September 15th, 2020

I started meditating 10 years ago because I kept reading about the benefits of meditation for well-being. I’m so glad I did because it has made a huge, positive difference in my life.

Lately, I’ve been learning about the many benefits of gardening for our physical and mental health. So, guess what? I just planted a Fall garden. It took a lot of time and effort, but I’m really excited to add gardening to my list of well-being practices!

Here are some of the ways gardening positively impacts our well-being:

  • Gardening is good exercise. I was surprised by how exhausting it was to build my garden! Personally, I’m hoping the level of physical activity required for maintaining it will be a bit lower.
  • People who grow a garden eat more fruits and vegetables. You can enjoy healthy, fresh food that’s free of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers.
  • Gardening increases your time outdoors and being outside reduces stress and boosts mood.
  • Gardening also relieves stress because it’s a mindfulness practice. You can become so focused on what you are doing that you are completely present in the moment.
  • Learning something new contributes to well-being. I’ve watched tons of YouTube videos to learn how to start a garden and I know I’ll continue to learn what works and what doesn’t as I tend my garden this Fall.
  • Gardening can boost your immune system. A harmless bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, found in soil has been linked to stronger immune systems. It also increases the production of serotonin, a mood-elevating brain chemical.
  • Gardening may protect against cognitive decline by keeping your mind active. One study found that people in their 60s and 70s who gardened regularly had a 36% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners.
  • Growing food can make you more self-sufficient, giving you a feeling of control in a world in which so much is out of our control.
  • Gardening can give you a sense of doing good by reducing your carbon footprint. It eliminates transportation costs and gardens use about one-third as much water as lawns.
  • In his TED talk, Ron Finley, the “gangsta gardener” from South Central LA, discusses how gardening can transform communities.

Who knew gardening was so good for our well-being? I realize that some of you may not have the space or the patience to grow a garden. Fortunately, you can reap many of the same benefits by growing plants.

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