Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gardening - It's Good for the Body and Soul



I heard the 'one can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt'.  Maybe that is why I have such a large garden!
Anyway, I do know that my visits to the garden are therapeutic - both physically and mentally. All I need to do is look around at the colors, feel the textures of the leaves, or smell the fragrances around me to put my mind in a different place.  The health benefits we experience in the garden may be subconscious, but I believe the benefits are real. 







Studies have show that even the 'view' of green spaces has a restorative effect on people.  Patients with a view of trees from their hospital room recovered faster and required less pain medications than those who viewed a brick wall.
I know which view I'd want.

Likewise, prisons, veterans centers, and senior communities have found that clients displayed more commitment to programs, and had a higher sense of purpose.
 The sense of accomplishment that comes from gardening is enormous.  That seed we started in May, needed our attention.  Water, weeding, and harvesting can increase our self-esteem.  Expressing creativity is very rewarding, when sharing the project with family and friends.

I am always amazed at the sense of well-being I have after a few moments in the garden.  I love to stroll my yard, coffee cup in hand, and enjoy the quiet.  Even the commute into town is bearable.

Stress has been associated to many health problems.  Insomnia and  high blood pressure are just two.   Our busy schedules, families, and work can all contribute to an overwhelming sense of 'GET  ME OUTTA HERE!'. 
That is the time I head outdoors.   Lunchtime breaks may make for a more productive afternoon.  Get outside and look up, take a deep breath, and

Sit and meditate.  Many mysteries of  life have been discovered by daydreaming.  We can get insights into the future, gain some wisdom and enhance our creativity. 




One other aspect of gardening that greatly calms the soul, is fragrance.  Aroma therapy is becoming quite accepted to relax and calm us.  I don't know a anything that brings more pleasure to my senses than rubbing a lavender stem, or picking a few leaves from lemon balm.


I've been part of Garden Clubs for years, and as those years pass, more and more of my friends are reducing the amount of gardening they do.  The mind is willing but the body is having difficulty keeping up. 

But the friends we 'grow' are ever blooming.  We still have fun gathering together and talking about gardening.  Lectures, and flower shows are among the many outlets gardeners have to enjoy the garden without the manual labor.  Many of us are still sharing what we learned. 

Plant seeds of wonder in some students. We can share the soothing, tranquil, peaceful, spiritual and healing benefits of gardening to a whole new generation.