Many studies have revealed the benefits of gardening for depression and anxiety, ranging from increased mindfulness to chemical changes in the brain. Gardening can be done inside or outside. It may mean having a vegetable garden, flower garden, or simply live plants and greenery throughout your living space. Many therapists utilize tools like art and gardening to help their patients with anxiety. If you do not currently have a therapist, go to therapistsincharlotte.com to find a personalized service that can address your specific needs and interests.
Here are some of the possible benefits of gardening when you have anxiety.
1. Provides grounding and interrupts intrusive thoughts
Grounding is a method of bringing your awareness and thoughts fully to the present moment, and it is an integral part of mindfulness meditation. When individuals are grounded in the present moment, they are not focused on the past or the future. They are not focused on intrusive thoughts that send them into a negative spiral of thoughts and emotions. Methods of grounding are taught to individuals who suffer from panic attacks to stop the panic.
One method of grounding is making physical contact with the things around you and walking on natural Earth. This could mean walking barefoot on grass or sand, or through mud or soft soil. The physical touch between your skin and the ground creates a grounding effect. This can be achieved through gardening because you are in contact with the soil and the plants. You are also focusing your energy and attention on what you are doing in the moment. You are not just touching the ground and plants; you are feeling them, looking at them, smelling them, and noticing any perfect or imperfect qualities of the plant or soil.
2. Provides focus and increases the overall quality of life
Gardening can increase overall focus and improve quality of life. There are endless streams of life that individuals have no control over, from their jobs to their families and even their health. Sometimes, the things that cannot be controlled overshadow the things that can be controlled, which include the present moment and emotional state. Gardening is a calming practice that allows individuals to focus on the present and look forward to the future. Each day, they can observe their plants, watch them grow and change while appreciating the beauty of the process. Over time, individuals can learn to carry the focus and calmness they feel while gardening into the rest of their day. Also, outdoor plants, house plants, and greenery create a calming environment and provide a sense of pride and lovingness.
3. Lowers cortisol and increases serotonin
Gardening has been found to lower cortisol (a stress hormone) levels in the brain, while also increasing serotonin, which is considered a happiness hormone. This comes as a result of the previous two benefits and others. As you become more comfortable in your thoughts and your space, as you learn how to ground yourself more naturally and focus on the things that bring you calm, the cortisol and serotonin levels in your brain will naturally start to change. This does not mean you will never feel stress or anxiety, but it means you will start finding balance. When you feel anxious, you’ll be able to self-soothe faster and more naturally.
If the process of getting started or going out to buy plants causes more anxiety, you can order online and have outdoor plants delivered to your home. You can also order planters and greenhouse supplies. Choose plants that are well suited for the area you live in, so you are not fighting nature and causing more stress.