While exercise is ubiquitously hailed as being one of the best stress-relieving activities with anti-depressant ways and other positive effects, gardening is often overlooked even though it has many of the same effects on the mind (and body). As a form of therapy, gardening can be very rewarding in a few different ways. Gardening is a form of physical activity that allows the gardener to connect with nature and work toward something concrete, manifested in the fact that plants grow, flower, and produce fruit. It can be as uplifting and relaxing as doing a creative activity like painting, scrapbooking, or playing music and after the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with maintaining a garden is one that psychologists and psychiatrists are familiar with.
The idea of being in touch with nature by gardening is one that is much supported in psychological studies. Being in nature has been found to reduce stress levels and improve concentration, so having plants to take care of on a regular basis in your yard or in your house can benefit your mental health immensely. Garden Therapy, also known as therapeutic horticulture, is used across the nation to help people recover from major illnesses, social and psychological issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and so that people who are recovering (from whatever it may be) have an opportunity to work in a peaceful social setting. The social aspect of gardening has been found to improve relations between prison inmates as well. The explanation for this is simply that as humans, we desire interaction with nature and gardening can easily provide us with this, even among city life, and this provides a sense of peace and tranquility.
Gardening is sometimes used as part of treatments for depression or stress. The activity is not stressful in itself, it does not have strict time limits, and it uses most of the senses. The hands-on experience of gardening is something that is also known to improve mood and relieve tension. If you do not already do so, even maintaining a single house plant can improve the quality of your life a little and provide a little extra happiness through the fulfillment of seeing it grow.
Beyond that, there is a sense of spirituality that comes along with gardening. Many religious take advantage of the outdoors for gathering events and the idea of being with nature is ingrained in our human tendencies. Gardening is, however, a hobby that is often forgotten or put aside because life can get busy and the immediate benefit is not always as apparent with gardening as it is with work, exercise, or other leisure activities. In a world where there is so much unhealthy food and even food that seems to be healthy may not be, it can be additionally rewarding to grow a couple types of fruits or vegetables and eat them knowing. There will also be a sense of fulfillment that you grew those fruits and vegetables and a sense of peace in knowing that they are healthy and free of anything unnatural.