“Life begins the day you start a garden.” -Chinese proverb
When we choose to grow, we choose to believe in ourselves. We choose to believe in our family. And, maybe most importantly, we choose to believe in our beautiful planet, one that supported and nourished life for countless generations.
This Earth Month, we are choosing not only to celebrate those entities but also to explore the health that each gains in the garden. Because the life we start in the garden is just the beginning of the life that it invigorates.
Looking to learn about how growing can transform health and wellbeing? Read on to discover how all that is dear to you stands to benefit from spending time in the garden.
Gardening for Personal Health
“You will bloom if you take the time to water yourself.”
When it comes to your personal health, gardening as a practice is a pathway to holistic and lasting wellbeing. Science has proven time and again that gardening can reduce anxiety and depression by altering brain chemistry, reconfiguring neural pathways, and promoting mindfulness. According to Dr. Madhukar Trivdei, a professor and researcher at UT Southwestern, gardening can transform the way our brains react and respond to life.
“Gardening, like any effort or attempted mindfulness, actually quiets down the ‘default mode’ [of your brain],” Dr. Trivedi said. “Your brain is ready and available to respond to stimuli from within or outside [the body] in a much more appropriate manner.”
In addition to mental and physical wellness, gardening has been shown to help build gratitude, confidence and self-love. And that’s just the objective side–who knows how your subjective health and wellness will flourish by spending time in your personal Eden.
Gardening for Kids
Gardening doesn’t just benefit you–growing outside at home also benefits those that are growing up within it. Children of all ages have much to gain by spending time outside, cultivating and nourishing an herb or vegetable garden.
Confidence can impact child health and development more than we tend to realize. According to science, children who feel confident are more likely to succeed in school, stand up to peer pressure, achieve their personal goals and maintain healthy personal relationships. Research has also shown that gardening can be a path towards self-actualization and self-confidence for children, as they are able to see tangibly the “fruits” of their labors, able to experience the power they yield in their own two hands. It’s a lesson they will remember over the course of their entires lives.
Gardening for Pets
When speaking about family, we cannot forget its furriest members. Dogs also stand to benefit from the garden, where the seeds we grow today can impact their health for years to come. Herbs can be absolutely revolutionary for a variety of canine ailments, from stomach and dental issues to more serious matters such as arthritis and immunity.
If you would like to start a garden that will help your beloved pet lead a boost in life, read our guide on herbs for dogs.
Gardening for the Planet
While it’s important that we all tend to our personal health, it’s equally important to focus energy on fostering the health of our beautiful planet. It’s easy to feel helpless about climate sometimes, with constant information about how humans have irrevocably damaged our precious ecosystem.
But you can and should make a difference. And, as always, you can start in the garden.
Personal gardens heal personal ecosystems. Even a few plants can help improve air and soil quality, bring down noise pollution (fascinatingly, vegetation absorbs sound), shrink energy usage and if you choose to grow your own food, reduce your overall carbon footprint. It’s a tiny miracle that can take place in your own backyard.
Michael Pollan may have put it best when he said “The garden suggests that there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.”
How is gardening helping you grow?