Parks and gardens, whether a sprawling Botanical Garden, a local pocket park, a commuity garden or a small, personal patch of greenery that we call 'our garden' have long been recognized as sanctuaries for nurturing not plants, but also human well-beings. Regularly the natural tranquil ambiance sooths our mind, body, and soul. For the puropose of this article, I consider a 'garden' as a green space maintatined by people. Other green spaces include wilder reserves and forests.
Engaging with gardens has been proven to have profound effects on emotional and psychological health, reducing stress, anxiety, and promoting mindfulness. In our garden settings, the act of tending to plants, from sowing seeds to nurturing their growth, fosters a sense of purpose and accomplishment, boosting self-esteem and overall happiness.
The physical benefits of gardening encourage outdoor physical activity, contributing to improved physical health and well-being. The exposure to fresh air and natural sunlight invigorates the body and mind, enhancing mood and energy levels and can rebalance some hormonal levels.
Gardens also offer an opportunity to reconnect with the natural world, fostering an appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living things and the importance of preserving the environment. We can benefit form the multitude of offerings nature provides in our gardens. A lot of reserch has been done on specific human health states and conditions.
The research on Natures benefits on human health, include:
Reduced stress: Spending time in nature can help to reduce stress levels. Being in a natural environment can promote a sense of relaxation and calmness, which can help to reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Improved mood: Being in nature has been shown to improve mood and increase feelings of happiness. Exposure to natural light and fresh air can help to regulate the production of the hormone serotonin, which is associated with feelings of well-being.
Increased physical activity: Spending time in nature often involves physical activity, such as gardening, hiking, walking, swimming or sport. This can help to improve physical fitness, cardiovascular health, and overall wellbeing.
Boosted immune system: Being exposed to natural environments can also help to boost the immune system. Studies have shown that people who spend time in nature have higher levels of natural killer cells, which are important for fighting infections and cancer.
Improved cognitive function: Spending time in nature can improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Being in nature has also been shown to reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Enhanced creativity: Nature can help to stimulate creativity and promote imaginative thinking. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can enhance cognitive flexibility, which is important for creative thinking and problem solving.
Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Spending time in nature has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Gardens play an integral role in promoting a sense of harmony, balance, and overall sense of well-being. Spending time in nature has numerous benefits for human health and well-being so it is important to incorporate nature into our daily lives, even if it is a quick walk in the park or garden. Sometimes we need to structure it in to our days because our fast-paced, busy modern lives often take our time and distract us from what is really important. Parks and gardens can provide a respite from the demands of daily life and offer a space for reflection, rejuvenation, and overall well-being.
4-week face-to-face Gardens for Wellbeing course in Caulfield, Melbourne.
Mini gardens (terrariums)