Gardening For Depression: The Unlikely Help

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Most of us will have feelings of depression at some point in our lives. Nearly a fifth of adults in the UK experience depression or anxiety. That is according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which states that more women report that they suffer from the conditions than men. With overthinking and major life events, such as family bereavement, leading to depression; anyone can be at risk of the illness. However, certain genetic variations may make some more prone to the condition than others.

Grow your own produce

Have you considered planting your own lime tree? It is believed that producing your own food can help you reconnect with our planet, its seasons and rhythms. Not only this, but tending to your crops will provide enough light exercise — at your own pace — to boost your endorphin levels.

You can often feel lost when you have depression, but if you see the results from beginning to end when growing your own, you can achieve a sense of control. It’s also thought that folate-rich foods, such as kale and spinach, can help lift your morale. So, what better way to boost yourself than growing it yourself? Harvesting our own crops can also release the ‘pleasure chemical’ dopamine into the brain, triggering a state of bliss. This release can be caused by sight, smell and actually plucking fruit, so be sure to plant as many different edible options as possible and get that dopamine flowing!

Keeping yourself occupied

While it is quite a relaxing activity, and allows you to connect with the natural world on a deeper level, it keeps you very occupied. Tasks such as digging, mowing and planting can keep you occupied for hours on end and always thinking, while being outdoors can increase serotonin in the brain. On top of this, the relaxing ambience provided by being outside can leave you feeling rejuvenated. Dr Sheri Jacobson, a psychotherapist and clinical director from Harley Therapy, agreed with the benefits that being outside hold in combating depression. She is quoted in Huffington Post saying: “While I haven’t come across anyone claiming that gardening has single-handedly overcome their depression, as part of a wide set of tools, gardening can be beneficial in the battle against depression.”

Despite what you may think, anti-depressants do not work for everyone. But, can gardening help us battle depression? Many believe so, with reports suggesting 87% of people who garden for more than six hours per week feel happier. But why and how is this the case?

Growing closer with your family

If you’re feeling alone, you might want to grow closer with your family, and this is something that can be done through gardening. Most kids love the garden — and spending time with you — so by creating fun tasks to improve your garden, they will instinctively have fun which will help lift your spirits. Certain friendly bacteria that is found in soil can also work in a similar way to anti-depressants by boosting the immune system, according to scientists.  

Gardening may seem like a big task but is something incredibly rewarding. With so many potential benefits, it’s clearly worth trying to get into this hobby. You may even grow to love your garden so much that you build your own garden shed. Remember though, you are not alone in your struggle, so be sure to talk to professionals and those closest to you if you are depressed. There are many people out there to discuss your feelings with.

We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with Suttons and Simply Log Cabins. You may also enjoy: Five things that (might) make you feel happier.


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