gardening and mental health

lovegardening77lovegardening77 Berkshire Posts: 327

I would just like to say that, having suffered with anxiety for many years, gardening is my new found therapy. I have come to realise this in the past two years since buying our own home and garden. I love planting new plants and spending my time (and money!!) in garden centres, weeding, planning the garden layout,and generally pottering in the garden, listening to the birds and last week I found a toad by the rose bush. I was so excited!!!

I wish 'gardening' could be used as part of therapy in mental health care. I really feel it could make a difference, no matter how small.



  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,087

    Gardening is the best therapy for many ills.

    Better than a packet of pills

  • 4thPanda4thPanda Posts: 4,145

    I'm with you there lg image Always feel much better after time spent outside.

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    Agree totally, gardening is so theraputic.  Not just the physical action of gardening but the anticipation of seeing things grow and come to life, it's so rewarding image Plus, it's a well known fact that fresh air does produce something (some hormone or other using the technical term) that actually does make you feel better.  That's my excuse for being in the garden all day at weekend anyway image

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  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 7,604

    Hi, I have discussed my mental health issues on this site before. These are longstanding and eventually forced me to retire early from my job as a doctor.

    Unfortunately I still take a shed load of pills, but the thing that my psychiatrist and therapists agree has made the most difference to me is gardening.

    I think there are many reasons why it helps: exercise, a well known mood improver, fresh air and sunshine likewise, a connection with the soil, which is something that for thousands of years during our evolution has been important and, which has started to disappear. Finally an perhaps most importantly, seeing new life emerge and, being able to cope with, and even embrace death, seem to be hugely important.

    With the encouragement of my therapist, I have been trying to write a book on how gardening may have a beneficial effect on mental illness. The provisional title of which is, Of Dahlias and Depression. Sadly I am finding it rather difficult to write. However writing it is proving therapeutic in its own right.

    Time is never time at all
    You can never ever leave
    Without leaving a piece of youth
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,379

    More power to your writing elbow Doc image

    I know that having a garden has proved more beneficial than anything else in the recovery of a dear dear friend after years of depression and anxiety - on a bad day just having somewhere green to sit and watch the birds on the feeders, and then to find a long awaited shoot sprouting; and on a good day to dig and weed and have a  truly transformative influence on the sad little patch of inner-city dirt that it once was ..... it has brought her much happiness, increased her resilience and self confidence and enabled her to achieve her educational potential, become independent and has now found a lasting and fulfilling relationship. 

    And as for improving her problem-solving skills ......... wonderful image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • WeyplotterWeyplotter Posts: 156
    Agree with all the above comments-I love gardening only wish I had made time for it before. My allotment is definitely my 'oasis' me time.

    I have found that my patients (inmates) who work in the 'gardens' have less mental health issues and are generally more compliant and cope better being inside. Of course there could be number of reasons why this is the case-who knows, I like to think its the fresh air and nurturing.

    PD looking forward to reading your book.
  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    I agree that gardening is very good for those suffering limitations. Be them physical or psychological (or both). It gives you a sense of patience (waiting for seeds to grow) and responsibility that doesn't overwhelm you (because unlike the family - the plants don't care that the washing is stacking up or that there's no dinner prepared regardless of how YOU are feeling). It gives you better coping strategies to pace yourself while ensuring your to do list (even if its just cutting the lawn) get done.

    (I also think that it does EVERYONE some good to step away from the computer screens and get some fresh air and gentle exercise.)


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