Gardening for Mental Health

Gardening has always been part of my life. As a child, I remember both sets of Grandparents regularly grew their own vegetables, and some of my best memories include eating carrots straight from their garden beds. It was a wonderfully freeing and tasty moment as a kid. Little did I know how this would affect my mental health and longing to grow food later in life.

As a teenager, I grew curious about food systems. As a young adult, I began growing my own food, opting to start from seed whenever possible, but equally happy to purchase small plants. I have always maintained some type of garden and it expands greatly in the summer to include an assortment of flowers and vegetables.

Psychology Today lists 10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening, which include:

  1. Practicing Acceptance
  2. Moving beyond perfectionism
  3. Developing a growth mindset
  4. Connecting with others
  5. Connecting to your world
  6. Bathing in green
  7. Being present
  8. Physical exercise
  9. Reducing stress
  10. Eating healthfully

I completely agree with this list and can attest to feeling the direct benefits of each point. In fact, these benefits are why I enjoy gardening so much. If you’re completely new to gardening, you might want to check out Growing Tomatoes {101}.

Get dirty!

Honestly, gardening is so much fun. The smell of fresh, moist soil paired with the thrill of seeing a seed break through the ground can feel absolutely incredible. Many people don’t garden because it can be dirty, but I encourage it. I encourage dirty!

Gardening and getting dirty is a great way to positively affect one’s mental health. There is little comparison for the feeling one gets when handling soil and places it around a seedling. This small caring act feels completely primitive, deeply important and satisfactory. I’ve gardened with freshly manicured nails and with short, nubby nails. Both yield nutritious vegetables. Getting dirty and growing our own plants is a hugely satisfactory activity. I promise you!