Posted on: 9 June, 2022

5 Benefits of Horticultural Therapy | Improving Your Mental Health

What are the benefits of horticultural therapy? This week, we're looking at how spending plenty of time in the garden can help improve your mental wellbeing.

What are the benefits of horticultural therapy?

In this blog, we’re exploring the different ways that spending time in nature can improve your mental health:

Horticultural Therapy: Tap Into Your Nurturing Side

When you’re maintaining flowers and shrubs, you’re tapping into your nurturing side. You may find joy in planting, pruning and watering, with each act helping your garden to flourish.

As your garden blooms, you’ll likely feel an overwhelming sense of pride that your project has come to fruition.

Nurturing your garden and seeing the fruits of your labour will help to stimulate the production of endorphins, ultimately leading to happiness and a feeling of accomplishment.

Enhance Your Physical Health

Spending time in the garden can promote exercise and movement, as you’ll be mowing the lawn, watering the plants and raking the leaves.

This is important for improving your mobility, flexibility, strength and balance, all of which can help you to live a more independent lifestyle for longer. This, in turn, will contribute to boosting your mental health.

Horticultural Therapy: Connect With Nature

Spending time in nature can have a plethora of benefits for your mind. As you connect with nature, you’ll feel calm and relaxed.

Fresh air can encourage you to take long, deep breaths, which can help to slow your heart rate and stabilise your blood pressure. You’ll also feel more grounded in nature, which can help to alleviate feelings of stress.

To help you reap the benefits of spending time outdoors, try to practise mindfulness and focus on being present. You can do this by sitting in a peaceful spot in your garden and concentrating on your surroundings. Try listening to the sounds of the birds or trickling water, feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, and smelling the freshly-cut grass.

Improve Your Sleep Pattern

Horticultural therapy can help to improve your sleep pattern by resetting your circadian rhythm. Your 24 hour sleep/wake cycle can change due to physical, mental and behavioural changes, such as shift patterns, seasons and mood.

To help reset your natural sleep cycle, you should spend plenty of time outdoors during the day. Exposing your body to natural light throughout the day will help your body reset its internal clock, making way for an influx of melatonin to prepare you for sleep as the sun sets.

Horticultural Therapy Can Help You Socialise More

Horticultural therapy can also improve your mental health by encouraging you to socialise.

Spending time in your allotment can provide you with plenty of opportunities to interact with fellow gardeners. You can share tips and ideas with each other, and create some long-lasting friendships.

If you don’t have an allotment, you could invite a friend over to help you in the garden, or you could consider joining a gardening club. This can help you to hone your skills, as well as meet plenty of new people with similar interests, providing you with an important sense of community.

If you’ve found this blog on the benefits of horticultural therapy helpful, why not read our previous blog to discover how to create a potager garden?

Alternatively, if you’re considering your retirement options, why not contact the Friary Meadow team to find out more about their retirement properties?

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