As an adult we all strive day to day to make sure that we are well, but as the WHO 1948 put it; being well is not merely the absence of disease or physical illness but being in a state of mental and social well-being too.
Spending time outdoors and indeed gardening has recently been gaining interest form the medical and mental health community for its benefits on wellbeing whether that be physical, intellectual, emotional or social.
Physically gardening has a whole host of benefits. The very action of gardening burns off calories and gets your heart rate going, which in turn is good for heart health. Muscles that may not have used in a while start to strengthen and research at the University of Pennsylvania suggests that gardening aids sleep, which as is becoming more and more apparent has been shown to have lots of health benefits.
In terms of emotion and mental health, gardening has been shown to develop good self-esteem – just creating a garden brings a huge sense of achievement and therefore improving self-esteem. Research has shown that there are changes in our mental health at the physical level too – time spent gardening, after a particularly stressful task, was shown to reduce levels of cortisol (yes you know – the hormone associated with stress). Also scientists have found that by gardening or walking in the great outdoors we inhale a healthy bacteria called M.vaccae. Breathing this in causes the body to increase levels of serotonin (yes you know – the hormone associated with feeling happy).
We all feel happier and more relaxed in a space that is well ordered, surrounded by things that we love and appreciate (we often apply this to the rooms in our house). It might be time to apply that same mentality to your garden or outdoor space – get rid (or recycle) those old broken pots, sow some seeds, plant some new borders, grow some fruit, salad and vegetables, create a new seating area in your outdoor room and spend some time in the great outdoors.
A tip to get you going – 1. Take a pot, plant some peppermint and watch it grow… 2. Pick a few leaves and steep in boiling water 3. Sit back and relax with a relaxing cup of peppermint tea.
Emma and Cheryl would love to help bring you that step closer to your ‘dream garden’!
For ideas of how you could transform your outdoor space go to www.homeofgardens.co.uk.