Can Gardening Really Make You Happier?

Heather Chaet
17

Exercise. Meditation. A change in diet. There are a lot of things they say to do to help mild depression. Let's add gardening to the list. A new program over in the U.K. is allowing patients to ask their doctors to prescribe a trip to the nursery and a chat with a flower expert instead of a visit to the psychiatrist's couch

Medical experts say gardening can help relax you, ease tensions, build self-esteem. Now, I'm a city girl, don't often have a chance to get dirt under my nails, but I can see this working. Forget the Prozac. Ditch the Zoloft. Grab a shovel and get gardening!

When you think about it, it makes sense. Gardening gives you a focus, a task to concentrate on that doesn't involve work stress or family stress, all major issues for those battling mild depression and anxiety. You see the fruits of your labor -- literally -- which is a great booster of mood.

And, really, just go visit a nursery. Everyone there is happy. They seem to be enjoying life, don't seem the wee bit stressed. Think about the lady down the street, the one you see with her wide-brimmed hat, green gardening gloves, working in her yard. She always waves and smiles. No stress there. After The Colonel (my dad) works in his garden, he's tired, but it is a "good tired" as he would say, proof he spent good healthy energy doing something.

I want to try this. Everyone needs a boost. Apparently, I can get the same effect with a window sill garden. Maybe some cilantro, perhaps some basil ... I'm smiling just thinking about it.  

Do you find gardening affects your mood?

 

Image via barry.pousman/Flickr

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