This weekend I repotted a beautiful hydrangea plant that I had received as a gift from my sweetie. It only took me about 20 minutes, but the therapeutic benefits lasted for hours. The overall feeling of well-being reminded me of how much I love and need to dig in the dirt.
It is believed that nature has healing powers and that gardening (even container gardening) lets us interact with nature. Various studies have been conducted about the link between gardening and better health. Almost all of the studies came up with positive results. It has been suggested that gardening is good for both physical and mental well-being.
Spending time watching the plants grow, the flowers bloom, and even watching the bees collecting nectar seems therapeutic. Gardening is usually a solitary practice and in many ways repetitive, it can easily serve as a form of meditation. When I’m going through a difficult time — or have a serious problem to work through — there’s nothing like pulling up weeds or pruning back a wayward shrub to help focus the mind. Another health benefit is the exposure to sunshine (with sunscreen and a hat of course); the sun delivers a boost of vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium.
It’s not at all surprising to me that there are Horticultural Therapists who help people overcome physical, social, emotional, as well as cognitive problems through gardening activities. Gardening is accessible to almost everyone and relatively inexpensive. Even if it’s only containers on the window sill of your apartment, it’s still a tiny garden.
For me, gardening is a labor of love and a show of true artistry. Gardening is a deeply sensory experience, and I think it touches something inherent in my spirit. I suspect it was passed down through many generations – the need for nature.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead, dig in the dirt and reap the benefits of what you sow.