When life gets a bit hectic, and all the jobs build up, a time in the garden is enough to offer us a reset. If you do some in-depth research on the subject, then you know the relieving effects of the garden are well known. Maslow’s rejigged pyramid of human needs includes nature as a fundamental to human well-being.
Therefore, the simple answer to the question: can gardening reduce stress? is “Yes!” Let us guide you through all the ways it will help you calm this crazy world of ours.
One of the major causes of increased stress is a lack of Vitamin D, which provides us with a sense of wellbeing. This is partly why we feel more stressed in the darker months, as we do not get enough sunlight to help maintain a positive frame of mind. Getting out into the garden is a great way to boost your sunlight input and to discourage the impacts of Seasonal Affective Disorder that can lower your resilience during winter. Not only is it that the sunlight is good for you, but the lack of artificial light is even better. No matter how good strip lighting is, it can create a strobe effect that increases our levels of stimulation in our brains.
One of the better ways of dealing with the impacts of stress is to exercise. Going to the gym might feel like a pointless experience. When you run on a treadmill, you are literally getting nowhere! However, the digging, lifting, carrying and general exertion of gardening have an actual outcome. We tend to live quite a sedentary life, and therefore we need to take every opportunity to move. There is something primal about the work we do on our land, which can satisfy deep desires within us that we do not realise exist. We are animals who enjoy our sense of territory. Working on this territory, making our mark on our patch of earth, can be cathartic and relieve the stress we might feel.
Maintaining a sense of the presence
You have likely heard of mindfulness. You may have dismissed this as meditation and that sitting and doing nothing is impossible for you. Your mind is just too busy to settle on this moment and to find calm by just sitting. There are so many people who say the same. You are not alone. However, mindfulness is not just meditation. It is about finding a way to move out of the past and the future and encourage you just to experience this present moment. When we focus too much on history, we tend to feel depressed. When we focus too much on the future, then we tend to live with anxiety. This leads to us feeling stressed because our mind is telling us to fight, or flee, or freeze. Basically to cope with a potential danger you are creating. So, if you garden, if you focus on the shape of a leaf, the sound of a bird, the texture of the gravel beneath your feet – then you are in the present, and your body can relax, as it knows you are safe.
Staying mindful takes practice, especially if we spend a lot of time in the office or workshop making strategic plans. Everything about our life tends us to thrust and drive towards a future. However, in the garden, you can only work at its pace and with its seasonal routines. This is how gardening can help relieve stress more than anything else.
Creating a haven of beauty
But, let’s be clear, you are creating a haven of peace on your land that you can hide within and relax. You are creating a landscape of sound, sight, smell and textures that can help you with your thoughts and your relaxation.
It is a place for the BBQ with the family, the sunbathing with a book, and the foraging for fruit for the pies in the late summer sun. And just sitting on your beautiful garden bench and admiring your skill – of course.
When you are creating your patch of beauty, try to not turn it into an ambitious project that needs to be perfect. Remember the act of gardening should be a haven from stresses and goals and outcomes. Just work with nature and allow it to have its magic effect on your well-being.
This article has been written by the team at Sloane and Sons Garden Benches. For more information regarding our services please visit our website or pop us a call.