Gardening to Uplift, Heal and Keep Alert

Are you feeling a little down? depressed?
Well here is a way to fix that -  go out and plant something...

Studies have found that an hour of gardening a day reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke and increases bone density more efficiently than aerobics or swimming!

In fact, even looking at nature can result in a drop in blood pressure within five minutes and lower our stress hormones.

One 16-year study in Australia revealed that those who did daily gardening even cut their risk of getting dementia in later life.

  (Gardening boosts endorphins, the body’s good-mood chemicals. Personally, my theory is that we need the sunlight on our pineal gland and this can delay dementia, but I have no proof, its just a 'knowing')

Here is a lovely story from Timesonline United Kingdom, dated March 27, 2010

"...Jane Robertson was earning a small fortune in the pressured world of derivatives markets when she had a breakdown at the age of 27.

A spell in a psychiatric hospital followed, then many months “just about existing” in her London flat.

When she signed up to take part in a once-weekly gardening project at Chelsea Physic Garden, it was all she could do to get out of bed to attend.

But, three years on, she has passed her horticultural exams and is training to be an arboriculturalist.

"...I felt a sense of transformation in the garden — it gave me a sense of calm that I hadn’t felt before,” says Robertson, now 32. “I think it was a combination of being outside and having contact with nature. It also helped me to talk about my feelings and difficulties. It was like a door had been held open and I could walk through it on my own.”

Amen to that!

Thank you Jane for putting into heartfelt words exactly how I feel about gardens and gardening.

And I am not alone,  Thrive, a national gardening-as-therapy charity in England, helps hundreds of people with mental and physical health problems. In 2010 they exhibited their first garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in May.

How great is that!?!  The Chelsea Flower Show is a big deal in the horticulture world, kind of like the Olympics of gardens.

The chief executive of Thrive, Nicola Carruthers, says “There is a massive amount of evidence about the beneficial effects of gardening, ever since the court physicians in the time of the pharaohs used to prescribe walks around the gardens to mentally disturbed royals.”  (what an image, a mentally disturbed Pharoah...)

We can all benefit from gardening’s unique combination fresh air, vitamin D and exercise with a purposeful task plus the calming effect of nature.

And a tomato seedling is cheaper than an anti-depressant.

photo by Jan Johnsen

So go seek serenity in your garden..or in the planter of marigolds on your fire escape or rooftop...

Anywhere you can, plant a pot of something green today. You can thank me later...:-)


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