My personal mental health journey and the impact gardening has had.
Mental health challenges come after anyone. All lifestyles and all walks of life, no one is immune. I've personally dealt with a lot of different mental health issues.
Medications and therapy are all well and good. I'll let you in on a secret though, hobbies are incredibly helpful. No really, if my mental health is on a downward spiral, "relaxing" is the WORST thing I can do. You relax, and BOOM, you're alone with your thoughts and things just get worse. So I've done my best to dive back into old hobbies. It's hard to get back into them when depression has sucked all the pleasure and motivation out of it. It is possible to get back into it though. You gotta find the right ones. For me, it was gardening. There are some pretty dope scientific reasons for it though.
The Soil and "Grounding" for Mental Health
My great grandpa was a doctor who treated a lot of his patients with a type of "grounding".
A lot of people don't realize that our bodies are electrical and magnetic, just like the earth. Wearing rubber soles and walking on concrete so much has disrupted our bodies. He noticed this and made a mat that had various magnetic stones on it and had his patients walk up and down the mat to realign. If you go outside on the grass with no shoes for a couple hours every day you will basically be doing this as well.
“…the biological clock of the body needs to be continually calibrated by the pulse of the Earth that governs the circadian rhythms of all life on the planet.” (Earthing by Clint Ober, Dr. Stephen Sinatra MD, and Martin Zucker)
“Using thermography, scientists have been able to see inflammation in the body reduce dramatically when a patient is grounded for as little as an hour. Given that inflammation is now believed to play a key role in many diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and Diabetes, these are important discoveries. ” Claire De Boursac
See? Science proves it. Just gardening in your bare feet is enough to improve your overall well-being (not just mental) They've even discovered that soil bacterium are an anti-depressant microbe! Digging in dirt is like taking a pill, but it's natural with no side effects!! Scientists think the bacterium activates serotonin to boost your mood, you've got free serotonin in your backyard!
Let's face it, humans are not made to sit on electronics all day, everyday. It causes physical issues as well as mental.
Gardening and Grounding improves mood, sleep, and reduces pain. And being outside in the sun increased your vitamin D production which is also very important.
My Personal Experience
Gardening became my healing hobby for all the above reasons, but also because it is just so satisfying to see physical changes brought about by my actions. I nurtured a little seed to grow into a healthy, fruit-bearing plant that I can enjoy. It's an almost addicting experience. My "soil time" has become a necessity. If I'm feeling like the world is all against me and nothing is gonna get better and I've already done the sleep, eat, and shower thing... I go garden. Whether it's re-potting something, mixing in some soil amendments, pruning or just grabbing the hose and going barefoot to give the plants a good shower; I always feel better afterwards.
I also make new friends! Human and non-human. I've joined gardening groups on Facebook and met the coolest people. I've also found tens of praying mantis' on my plants! And that is so cool. You can even pick them up (gently).
https://www.epicgardening.com/mental-health-benefits-of-gardening/ Read this. It is awesome and oh so accurate.
Sorry this post is so short, I wasn't sure how deep I wanted to dive into my issues. Here's a potato.