Our society is finally waking up to the fact that mental health is just as important as physical health. Of course, mental health is harder to take care of because we’re often not even aware of how bad our mental hygiene actually is. Most of the things we do and think can end up being very harmful for our mental health in the long run. This is why we need to get to know ourselves better in order to recognize thought patterns and behaviors that weaken our mental health.
One of the best ways to do this is to choose an activity that simultaneously gets you in and out of your head. In other words, you need something that allows you to interact with the outside world while also giving you an opportunity to reflect on your inner self.
Even though this sounds borderline impossible, there is an activity that will help you do just that: gardening. Let’s see exactly how you can make the garden in your mind flourish while doing the same with the garden in your backyard.
1. Exposure to the sun & fresh air
Just like the flowers you’re taking care of, you also need the sun to blossom into something beautiful. Spending time in your garden is the key to a happier life, that’s for sure. The sun is the driving force of life and its warmth has the power to transform any creature into something strong and amazing. Spending more time outside in the sun is essential for anyone who aims to better their mental and physical health. Gardening is the perfect opportunity to do so.
When you’re gardening, you’ll be spending your afternoons mostly in your backyard in the warm sun. This means you’ll be exposed to vitamin D and to fresh air. Both of these components will work together to improve your cognitive function and give you higher levels of satisfaction.
A satisfied mind is one that focuses on the positive side of things more easily and one that can overcome almost any challenge it faces. You’ll notice that you’re much more empathetic to other people when you’re in a good mood, thus improving your relationships with the people you care about.
What’s more, you’ll notice it’s much easier to work on the issues you may be facing on a daily basis when your brain has the energy to think about them rationally. You won’t get caught up in anger or sadness, but will instead be able to actually look at the thoughts that are bothering you. It will be easier to break them down and understand them, which will eventually lead to all of your issues being solved.
All of this patience comes from the exposure to sunlight and fresh air, as your body fuels itself with nature. Let’s not forget these things also improve your immune system; a very important factor when it comes to the strength of the body and the mind.
2. Learning from nature
When you’re gardening, you often come in contact with nature’s animals. This is especially true if you add toad houses and bird baths to your garden. Installing these features can help you see the positive side of life and get you excited over the little things. Both of these benefits can be applied to other areas in your life and will generally make you more detail-oriented.
Interacting with animals helps you gain a deeper understanding of how the world works and what makes it tick. On top of that, it makes you a more grateful and thankful person. Realizing what you have and learning to appreciate is essential for good mental health.
After all, these are the things that help us stay grounded and that teach us to be happy with what we have. Even though there’s nothing wrong with ambition, it can often turn into greed and make us feel like we’re never good enough.
These frustrations only build in your mind over time and make you into an unhappy person who can’t understand the scope of their greatness. Let nature’s little animals teach you the importance of the little things and become a happier and healthier person than you ever thought you could be.
Exercising is generally one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental and physical health. It’s a common misconception that gardening isn’t hard to do and that you don’t break a sweat doing it. The matter of the fact is that this can be a very physically challenging activity and that it can improve your strength significantly if you do it regularly. A strong body makes for a strong mind.
By gardening, you’re working the tension in your muscles and helping your body break down stress particles. As well as that, your body is producing important hormones and chemicals that make you feel happy and satisfied. This is why you’ll get that rewarding feeling after every time you garden.
In the long run, you’ll be getting more energy and more frequent bursts of joy after your garden. Your mind will thrive on this because it will be working with a healthy and strong body. Your cognitive function will be improved, making it easier to think and focus on tasks. As well as that, let’s not forget you’ll think faster and that you’ll be more motivated to complete your daily tasks. Can you think of anything more powerful for improving your mental health?
4. Giving back to earth
Gardening has the power to put things into perspective and remind you of where you came from. We’re all children of Mother Nature, no matter how advanced we think our species is. We took a lot from it and are living in an environmental crisis thanks to our actions, so it’s our job to give back to it.
By gardening, you’re doing your part in preserving the Earth. This helps you understand just how valuable what we’re trying to save is. More than that, it helps you stay humble and realize that you’re not above everyone else.
Even though most people want to deny it, we all have a little bit of a narcissist hiding within us. This is all good and normal as long as it’s under control. For some, the narcissist gets out and they start believing they’re somehow more valuable than other people just because they are who they are. Gardening helps you realize that you aren’t above others and above nature, thus making you a kinder and more empathetic person. This kindness can be applied to other people, but is also valuable when it comes to dealing with yourself.
You’ll find it much easier to forgive yourself for past mistakes and you’ll learn how to take care of yourself without reprimand. This is good mental hygiene that will take you far in life and keep you healthy and happy.
5. Meditative properties
Gardening might be hard work, but it’s also very meditative. This is because most of the things you do will be mechanical. For example, with the best gardening equipment in your hands and your focus on preparing the ground for flower seeding, you’ll have nothing to do but think. The same goes for watering and weeding. These are actions you do automatically and actions you don’t need to think about when you get into the rhythm of things.
This same rhythm allows your brain to wander while your body is on autopilot. This is a natural thing that happens when we’re confident of leaving our body to do something on its own. It happens when you’re washing the dishes, when you’re walking somewhere, or even when you’re washing your teeth. Even though we’re not aware of this most of the time, it can be quite helpful in our quest to get to know who we are.
So when you get into gardening and your mind starts to wander, let it. It works the same way meditation does. Thoughts will start to appear, some positive, some negative, and they’ll just float around in your mind. Don’t try to catch them or elaborate on them, just let them pass through. This will help you get closer to your subconscious and figure out how your mind works. The more you do it, the easier it will be to control the thoughts, figure out which are real, and work on the negative ones.
There’s no activity better than gardening to help you meditate and unlock your subconscious.
6. Eating better
You’ve heard of the saying that you are what you eat, but do you have any idea how true it actually is? The food we eat today is largely composed of chemicals and pesticides to suit mass production and keep it looking fresh. The quantity beats the quality of the produce, meaning that you’ll find more chemicals than vitamins in your average tomato.
The perfect solution to this problem is to grow your own vegetable garden. This way, you’ll be sure that you’re growing healthy veggies full of vitamins and with 0 chemicals in them. In other words, you’ll be feeding your brain the food it needs to improve its cognitive function.
Not only will you have more energy this way, but you’ll also have a much easier time focusing on tasks and figuring things out. Your mind will run like a well-oiled machine because you’ll be putting the right fuel in it. The rewarding feeling you have every time you pick something out of your garden that you grew yourself will empower you even more and give you the confidence you need to overcome most of the challenges you’re currently facing.
Remember, you can move walls with your mind if you sharpen it with the right fuel.
As you can see, gardening is a very powerful tool that can greatly improve your mental health. If you use it wisely, you can better your mental hygiene and take care of your mind the way it deserves. By focusing on your physical health through gardening, you’ll be contributing to the well-being of your brain. It’s all about giving yourself more energy, recognizing toxic thoughts and behavior, and becoming a better and stronger person. We’re confident good things are ahead if you continue down the path of gardening and keep working on yourself.