Gardening. The word itself brings feelings of tranquility and springtime. The plants growing new buds, the light, floral scents that flood the air, and the sound of buzzing bees and chirping birds encompass you. A sense of calm overcomes you. For many, gardening is more than just a hobby. It is their therapy.
People choose gardening as therapy for good reason. There have been scientific studies that show that gardening provides many benefits, including mental health.
April is National Gardening Month! To celebrate, Silver Comet Village, in Powder Springs, Georgia, is sharing the mental benefits of gardening along with tips to help make gardening easier.
Mental Benefits of Gardening
Higher Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is a chemical that nerve cells produce and release into the body. This chemical often referred to as “the happy chemical” or “the natural anti-depressant,” is in control of mood and wellbeing. Higher levels of serotonin are linked to improved mood.
How does this link to gardening? When gardening, we are exposed to dirt. This dirt holds countless numbers of the Mycobacterium vaccae bacteria, and these bacteria have been shown to trigger the release of serotonin in the brain.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
According to Lorin Nielsen, lifetime gardener, and Kevin Espiritu, founder of Epic Gardening, gardening is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. In fact, “One study done in the Netherlands found that, when compared to other forms of relaxation such as reading, gardening was exceptionally good at relieving stress.”
Why is this the case? During this study, thirty people were randomly assigned the task of either gardening or reading. Salivary levels of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone, were measured periodically throughout the field experiment. “Gardening and reading each led to decreases in cortisol during the recovery period, but decreases were significantly stronger in the gardening group.”
Making Gardening Easier
Whatever age, the following tips are meant to ensure that you or your loved one can reap all the benefits of gardening and that your garden thrives during the process!
Raised Garden Beds
One way to counteract bending and kneeling repeatedly while gardening is to build raised garden beds. Raised beds will allow you or your loved one to sit on the edge of the bed, eliminating the need to bend or crouch.
Our outdoor living space at Silver Comet Village includes a beautiful garden area complete with raised gardens for easy access for our residents!
Utilizing Walls or Trellis Space
If available, use walls or trellis space to build a vertical garden. This way, the individual is able to stand while gardening.
Using the Correct Tools
Tools make a big difference in the level of ease of gardening. Using incorrect tools can make the gardening process harder. Find tools with good grips and that are longer, further reducing the need to bend or crouch. In addition, tools with longer handles give the gardener more leverage when completing gardening tasks.
Supply a Stool
If getting close to the ground cannot be avoided, a stool may be beneficial. This way, you or your loved one won’t have to kneel on the ground or crouch more than necessary.
Alternate Between Difficult Tasks
It is no secret that gardening can be a tiring, strenuous activity. One way to help combat this is to alternate between more labor-intense tasks and easier tasks. The short break in between difficult tasks will allow the body to reenergize before attempting more.
Be Mindful of the Time of Day
Avoid gardening during the hottest times of the day, as this can lead to heat exhaustion. The best times to garden are in the morning or right before dusk when the sun is not beating down.
In addition to raised garden beds, our Silver Comet Village garden area has a compost bin, an arbor, and a garden shed. We encourage our residents and their guests to take advantage of all our outdoor features – from private access to the Silver Comet Trail to our bocce ball courts.
Silver Comet Village invites you to use gardening to help you or a loved one achieve lower levels of stress and improved mood this April and throughout the year! We also invite you to learn more about Silver Comet Village and the amenities we offer to our residents by contacting us today.
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