Green Therapy, or nature therapy, comes from the idea that people are part of their environment. Eco-psychology says that our psyches are not isolated from the world around us — in fact, our emotional and mental states are hugely impacted by it. At Gardenuity, we’re firm believers in the positive effects of getting outside and growing.
Here are four benefits of green therapy and gardening.
1. Encourages Physicality
One of the major benefits of green therapy is getting outdoors and getting physical. By doing so, you reduce your risk of heart attacks, promote better weight management, lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, and increase overall feelings of health, including a better mood, positive energy, and better sleep. This can manifest as spending ten minutes in the garden or taking 4-hour rigorous hikes. The point is to move your body and do it in the sun. Your physical state will thank you.
2. Adds Social Value
More than physicality, green therapy speaks to nature’s ability to improve our mental/emotional state. Finding outdoor activities creates an opportunity to do something unrelated to work that is useful for the world. Gardening is especially good for this. Growing your own food and contributing to a more sustainable, more health-driven earth is making a difference. And making a difference increases your self-esteem and helps you understand how your actions have an impact — that you’re important to this earth.
3. Suppresses Negative Thought Patterns
We can’t exactly explain this one, but being outside simply reduces negative rumination. Green therapy argues that it’s because nature is part of our evolutionary understanding of the world, so it becomes a source of comfort for us.
Research sent out two study groups — one who took a walk in a natural environment and one who walked in an urban setting. Both groups came back with less negative thoughts, but the group who walked in nature was affected positively significantly more than those who walked in the urban environment. So, if you’re feeling down and you’re stuck in a destructive thought pattern, get outside and get walking or gardening. It just might help.
4. Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Green therapy brings down our anxiety levels. In a controlled study, patients suffering from various diseases such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and personality disorders spent three hours twice a week outside working farm animals for 12 weeks. These patients showed significant improvement in coping ability, symptom reduction, and overall quality of life. It’s therapeutic and calming to be with the earth — smell the dirt, understand the slow processes natural to growth, and check in with green.
Growing outside can also be a way to fight loneliness and boost your self-esteem. Gardening gives you a sense of ownership and a sense of value in the world. In essence, nature promotes calmness and balanced thoughts.
Whether or not green therapy works in a medical way, growing makes you happy. So, get outside, do a little or a lot of gardening, and enjoy nature.
This article or the advice contained in this article is not intended to nor should it replace a meaningful relationship with trusted medical professionals.