The Benefits of Gardening on Mental Health

In a recent article entitled “Anxiety and depression: why doctors are prescribing gardening rather than drugs” by Yvonne Black and featured in The Conversation, we read about the benefits of being outside and how it can greatly benefit our emotional health. Following the idea of social prescriptions, doctors in the UK have begun to prescribe “nature prescriptions”, with doctors there recommending walks and activities that allow people to connect with the outdoors.

One of the ways to create interaction between people and nature is through gardening; nature prescriptions tend to take it one step further with the support of community gardening:

“Taking part in community gardening can encourage people to adopt healthier behaviours. It may be, for example, that neighbourhood projects can be reached on foot or by bicycle – prompting people to take up more active transport options in their daily lives. Eating the produce from a community garden may also help people to form the habit of eating fresh, locally grown food. Unlike growing on individual allotments or private gardens, community gardening requires an element of cooperation and collective planning. Working together towards shared goals can create a real sense of community. And in a garden, a feeling of connection may develop, not just with other people, but with the living world as a whole.”

Promoting overall health is one way that community gardening can be seen as a healthy way of supporting our well being; the connection piece, whether it be to other people or to the living, natural world, is what helps our emotional health. All the more reason to get outside 🙂

To read the full article:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

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