Gardening has a positive effect on mental health – in children, adults and the elderly alike. Anyone who works in nature or in the garden can face many ailments and diseases and almost enter into a state similar to meditation.
Gardening has a positive effect on the psyche – this was already known in ancient times. Today, knowledge is used differently, because more and more therapists offer digging, planting and weeding, for example b- to relieve stress, depression, anxiety disorders or even dementia and strengthen the feeling of connectedness. But you don’t have to start treatment to enjoy the many positive benefits of gardening. Studies show that gardening for just a few minutes a week is healthy. Growing and caring for cucumbers, tomatoes and the like makes children more interested in fruits and vegetables. Never discussions again at the dinner table? Gardening makes it possible!
1. Greater appreciation for food
Anyone who decides to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, or flowers in their garden, patio, or balcony must deal with water supply, soil setting, or soil quality. Gardening requires a certain commitment, and in a society that has moved away from such basic things as the origin of food, a change of perspective ensures: you are happy with every fruit that can be harvested and experience a new appreciation of the produce. Not to mention the more intense aftertaste.
Our fellow myHOMEBOOK have 5 tips to ease your back when gardening.
2. Work in gardens and connections
Being in nature in general and gardening in particular also enhances feelings of connection and gratitude. People who work in the garden often feel a deeper connection to nature and feel more rooted in this fast-moving world. This sense of grounding applies to the social sphere as well. After all, he says, “a green thumb consists of attention and affection.” And those who have it also strengthen the bond with their fellow humans.
3. Increase vitamin D in the body
In particular, gardeners who tend to their plants in the garden or patio can enjoy a healthy level of vitamin D. Vitamin D is made by the body itself through exposure to sunlight and has a positive effect on all kinds of physical and mental ailments. It is completely immune-boosting and can be molded after just a few minutes in sunlight. And although vitamin D synthesis in the skin decreases with age, daylight appears to help older adults achieve adequate serum levels. Older adults especially benefit from outdoor gardening.1
Also interesting: Vitamin D – all information about function, requirements and nutritional supplements
4. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is reduced
In addition, all the senses are treated when working outdoors: what color is the flower, how does fresh parsley smell and which bird is actually chirping? Thus, gardening can strengthen brain performance and memory and combat Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A long-term study out of Australia with nearly 3,000 elderly people showed that daily gardening reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by nearly a third, or 36 percent.2
Also interesting: Dementia – what are the signs you should see a doctor?
5. Gardening for stress and depression
But relatives of people with dementia who take care of them also have to reach for the hand shovel more often. Because they, too, can benefit from regular gardening. In a cross-sectional study, 242 family members of caregivers were asked about their gardening activities, symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and their burden of care. The result: Of the 242 participants, 131 caregivers (54 percent) were involved in gardening. Caregivers of people with dementia who regularly did gardening were less likely to have severe to very severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress than those who did not. Therefore, gardening can help relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.3
Also interesting: Possible symptoms of depression
6. Gardening as meditation
Less stress also automatically means: a healthy cardiovascular system. Shoveling or mowing the lawn has a meditative function and relaxes the body and mind. This also normalizes blood pressure and strengthens the cardiovascular system. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, just ten minutes of gardening per week should have positive effects on health and a reduced risk of heart disease. And you do not need your own garden dedicated to this – planting fresh herbs in a flower pot on the windowsill will be enough. Additionally, survey respondents indicated that gardening gave them a greater sense of accomplishment than tasks such as tidying up or cleaning the house.4
Also interesting: In the “Diabetes Garden” one wants to tame diabetes naturally
7. Best: Community Gardening
So gardening is a great tool for personal mental health. However, you can achieve a greater impact if you do not grow and work alone on your own property (or in your apartment), but do community gardening. For example, a study of 111 Singaporeans examined the links between community gardening and a range of mental health benefits in the form of subjective well-being, stress and resilience factors (self-esteem, optimism, openness). The results show that community gardeners have significantly higher levels of well-being, resilience, and optimism than individual, home, or even non-gardeners.5
8. Healthy Nutrition – For Kids Too
There is also hope for parents who have the same discussion about vegetables with their children who complain every evening: Studies show that gardening has a positive effect on children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables.6 So when your little one starts playing green vegetables again, just take them in hand and grow zucchini, lettuce or herbs together. Or even better: Ditch the responsibility entirely and let the kids take on smaller projects (like separating the bed or watering). A sense of accomplishment is important for maintaining motivation.
9. Thin by digging and planting
A healthy mind automatically leads to a healthy body. Anyone who is mentally fit is automatically also physically fit and gets sick much less often. But standing and sitting a few times when planting, for example, also helps burn a few extra calories. An hour of light gardening can burn about 330 calories—more than a simple walk.7 Skinny by planting and digging, nice benefit, right?
You don’t need to spend hours in your own garden to enjoy the health benefits of gardening. Taking care of a pot of herbs on a windowsill for just a few minutes a week can have a positive, long-term effect on your psyche. However, planting, shoveling or watering in the fresh air has some other advantages: the level of vitamin D is replenished, the sense of connection with nature is strengthened, fewer calories are burned, and even those who do it in the community become more. Open minded, more optimistic and mentally flexible. So there are plenty of reasons to get kids more involved in gardening again. Perhaps then, even the daily debate about hated broccoli at the dinner table would be superfluous.
- 1. De Rui M, Toffanello ED, Veronese N (2014). Vitamin D deficiency and leisure activities in the elderly: is all pastime the same? One Plus.
- 2. Simons LA, Simons J, McCallum J (2006). Lifestyle factors and risk of dementia: the Dubbo study of older adults. Medical Journal of Australia.
- 3. Inamani Saadeh, Pamwerendi WM, Rukondo GZ (2021). Participation in gardening activity and its association with improved mental health among family caregivers of people with dementia in rural Uganda. Preventive Medicine Reports.
- 4. Zhao M, Veeranki SP, Li S (2019). Beneficial associations of low and high doses of leisure-time physical activity with all-cause cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: a national cohort study of 88,140 US adults. BMJ Journals.
- 5. Koay I, Dillon D (2020). Community gardening: stress, well-being, and potential resilience in a manner. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
- 6. Savoie-Roskos MR, Wengreen H, Durward C (2017). Increasing fruit and vegetable intake among children and youth through horticultural-based interventions: a systematic review. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics.
- 7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Physical activity for a healthy weight. (Accessed 09.06.2022)