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Cultivating Mental Health: The Benefits of Gardening

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Cultivating Mental Health: The Benefits of Gardening

Gardening is one of the most popular ways in which people all over the world interact with nature on a regular basis.

A plethora of recent studies show a renewed widespread appreciation for gardening, not only for the edible rewards, but for the many benefits to general well-being, stress reduction, and mood improvement (1).

Ample scientific evidence supports the theory that contact with nature and the natural world has beneficial effects on both physical and mental health, including a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, and a decrease in the severity of stress, depression, and anxiety (1).

Regular gardening has also been shown to enhance overall life satisfaction, life quality, general well-being, cognitive function, community engagement, and longevity.

10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

1. Practicing Acceptance: Just as we cannot control nature, we cannot control the unpredictability of life. Accepting this can give us greater peace of mind.

2. Moving Beyond Perfectionism: Learning to accept that carefully-laid plans may go awry helps us to be present and go with the flow.

3. Developing a Growth Mindset: Perceiving your garden with an open mind allows you as well as your plants to grow.

4. Connecting with Others: Gardening can provide many talking points and collaborative opportunities.

5. Connecting to your World: Growing your own food gives you an appreciation for the delicate cycle of life.

6. Bathing in Green: Being surrounded by nature offers many positive effects and is linked with better recovery from surgery, lower levels of anxiety and depression, and better stress management. (See our article on Forest Bathing)

7. Being Present: Tending your garden is a privilege that requires diligence and focus in the present moment as you care for each plant.

8. Physical Exercise: Regular movement helps maintain your physical and mental form.

9. Reducing Stress: Working with and in nature helps release stress; being surrounded by life and feeling soil in your hands can be therapeutic.

10. Eating Healthfully: You reap what you sow – growing your own organic produce is rewarding, delicious, and healthy (2).

Gardening is a life-affirming activity for all ages and abilities. While not everyone has access to their own private garden or allotment, community gardens and therapeutic projects offer a social and multi-generational experience (3).


1. Lake J. Gardening and Mental Health: A Brief Overview. Psychology Today. 3 October, 2020.

2. Gillihan, SJ. 10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening. Psychology Today. 19 June, 2019.

3. Shanmuganathan-Felton V, Felton L, Briseid C, Maitland B. Cultivating wellbeing and mental health through gardening. The British Psychological Society. 22 May 2020.

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