Springtime is a beautiful display of the wonders of God’s creation. The sun is shining and the grass is lush and green. Landscapes are adorned with vibrant flowers. Butterflies are fluttering, bees are buzzing, and birds are chirping. There is an Artist behind this marvelous masterpiece. “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 ESV) The visible things we see in nature are just a window of the glorious invisible characteristics of our amazing Creator.
This gorgeous time of year awakens a desire in many people to take part in their favorite pastime—gardening. Gardening has its challenges and difficulties, but it offers many positive benefits for your physical and psychological well-being.
One of the benefits of gardening is a healthier diet if you grow your own produce. We all know that a well-balanced, nutritious diet includes fresh, fiber-filled fruits and vegetables. So, why not grow some of your own in your backyard?
Gardening of any kind, whether you’re planting produce or flowers, is a form of exercise. Consistently nurturing and caring for your garden enhances your physical activity. From pruning to weeding to trimming, you are constantly in motion as you work in the garden. Outdoor exercise can lead to increased oxygen levels in the blood because people tend to breathe more deeply out in the fresh air. Working in the garden as a form of exercise can also help to prevent osteoporosis and reduces the risk of some cancers, type 2 diabetes, depression, and heart disease.
When you spend extended amounts of time outdoors, the sunlight increases your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps the body retain calcium and phosphorus, critical minerals that maintain bone health and strength. This vitamin is also key to an improved immune system. Spending time in the sun also has a positive effect on your circadian rhythm, giving you the added benefit of sounder sleep.
You will often hear people say that gardening is like a form of therapy. It provides an escape from work, worries, and the stresses of everyday life. The tranquility of the outdoors can be a much-needed change of scenery. Therefore, those who find gardening to be therapeutic often associate the outdoors with a getaway, a place of restoration and rejuvenation.
Gardening can encourage a positive mindset. It causes you to focus on the present moment and the tasks that need to be accomplished. It takes your mind off any of its usual negative thinking patterns and onto the positive.
Sunshine is known for having a positive effect on one’s mental health. “Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 11:7 ESV) Soaking in the sunlight boosts serotonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel happy, calm, and focused. Your blood pressure lowers, your heart rate slows, and your stress and anxiety begin to fade away.
Low serotonin levels are linked to mood disorders such as depression. Some people experience a type of depression that occurs during seasons when there is less sunlight. This depression, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), usually happens around the same time each year. So, sunlight is an important factor in a person’s psychological well-being.
Another mood-boosting hormone that can be increased through gardening is dopamine. Dopamine is the hormone associated with rewards, motivation, and productivity. When you step back and are satisfied with what you have accomplished in the garden, your motivation to continue gardening will increase.
Serotonin and dopamine both enhance cognitive functions such as memory and attention, keeping you clear-minded and focused on other tasks throughout the day.
Gardening can also be a way for you to cultivate social connections with friends and neighbors who garden as well. You can share advice, stories, and your vegetables, herbs, or fruits. Connections will be formed based on shared interests and common goals.
As you spend time in your garden this year, I hope you get to experience some of these physical and psychological benefits firsthand. Click here to browse our selection of garden seeds & gardening tools.