Gardening for the Mind, Body, and Soul

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Gardening for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Gardening is Good for You! Tips to Maximize Your Gardening Wellness.

Gardening is therapeutic on so many levels. Just being around nature can improve your mood, making you feel more at peace. The act of digging, planting, and watering can help take your mind off of the stresses of daily life. Not to mention it’s good for your body! Yard work stimulates your muscles and can actually improve your physical health. Gardening is good for the mind, body and soul. So, get out there and get your hands dirty! 

Nature has been regarded as a very powerful force for centuries. Not only powerful as in man-eating lions and bears, but powerful in its effect on the human psyche. Becoming one-with-nature serves as an escape for our minds, and we feel more at ease and contented.

In Ancient Egypt, green was a sacred color, representing the hope of spring that brought new vegetation and life. The sweltering sun and heat in Ancient Egypt left people mentally and physically exhausted. Shady gardens served as an escape from those harsh environmental conditions, and were a sort of paradise that offered respite from the hot sun.  

Centuries later, Colonial America Quakers believed gardens helped relax and restore the soul. Not only that, but they also believed growing plants and designing a garden stimulated the creative juices. 

Plants are Therapeutic

Not only can gardens help improve your mood, but they can also help with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Nature can even help provide hope and inspiration for patients recovering from serious conditions like a stroke or cancer.

The idea of healing gardens for the sick has been around since medieval times, and it’s still alive and well today. In recent decades, hospitals around the world have been incorporating green spaces, gardens and flowerbeds into the architectural design. The medical community is rediscovering the healing power of gardens, and has been implementing therapy programs around these green spaces. 

Philadelphia’s Friends Hospital implemented one of the first programs to use plants in a therapeutic setting in 1879 after a physician noticed that psychiatric patients working in hospital fields were calmer. The gardens seemed to temporarily cure the patients of their mental illnesses.

Doctors at the Jupiter Medical Center in Florida found that cardiology patients in rehab who had a view of that facility’s Jacqueline Fiske Healing Garden from their room took less pain medication and had shorter hospital stays than those patients who could not see the garden.

Garden Training

Healing gardens are good for your soul and morale. They can improve your mood and help with depression, and they have even been proven to increase our physical wellbeing. You’ve probably heard about the use of herbs in the medical community. The Chinese were using herbs medicinally as early as 3000 B.C, and that practice hasn’t been lost. Ginger has been known to reduce nausea, eating Cinnamon lowers blood sugar, and turmeric (an ingredient in curry) can ease the pain associated with arthritis.

Even the act of gardening can improve your physical health. Working in a garden is legitimate exercise. All that digging, bending, planting and walking burns calories and can provide a low-impact workout. This kind of physical activity simulates your muscles, builds strong bones, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and can even prevent osteoporosis. 

You Can Do It!

Don’t you want to soothe and heal your mind, body and soul? Well, you can create your own healing garden right at home. When creating your garden, one thing you should take into consideration is your senses, and how those senses will consume the nature around you. Here are a few tips:

Listen to Nature’s Call.

Including a fountain, pond or waterfall can add to the relaxation you feel due to the calming sound of water running over rocks. You can even add coy fish to your pond for an extra stimulating experience.

Smell the Roses.

Add fragrant plants like fresh evergreens, or sweet smelling flowers like honeysuckle and gardenia, or the crisp scent of fresh herbs like lavender. The rich aroma of fresh earth and grass combined with fragrant blooms and herbs will fill the air and your soul.

Tempt Your Taste Buds.

In addition to sniffing those amazing flowers, adding fragrant edibles like crispy pea pods or sweet berries will encourage your hunger for fresh foods! You can also satisfy the hunger of butterflies, bees and birds by adding plants and seeds that attract them, increasing the healing energy of your garden.

Feel the Flowers.

The velvety texture of petals can make you want to curl up and take a nap on one. To optimize your relaxation, add plants with different textures. For example, lamb’s ear has soft, furry leaves and pansies have plush petals that you can’t keep from rubbing between your fingers.

Open Your Eyes.

A flower’s beauty is another healing power, and you should plant flowers that you find pleasing. If you like bright colors, add daffodils or lilies. You can also use a structure, such as a sculpture or trellis, to stimulate your creativity. Within your garden design add a place to sit for meditation and reflection.

Don’t rush! The design and development of a healing garden, just like the process of healing and recovery, takes place over time. It is that journey and the time spent with nature that heals our body and soul. So, go ahead and get your hands dirty and begin the healing!