HOW GARDENING CAN HELP WITH MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is a state of mind that brings one into the present moment with no distractions or self-judgement. It is a practice that is used to treat mental illness such as depression and anxiety and can be executed in many different ways. One of the main practices of mindfulness is meditation, which has become a normalised practice in the past decade, with apps being developed to help people be in the moment and take a ten-minute break from busy, and often stressful, daily life. But another popular mindfulness activity one shouldn’t forget is gardening.
Gardening helps the mind to focus on the here and now, with laborious tasks such as planting, weeding and trimming hedges, or mowing the lawn allowing the gardener to focus on the current activity without distraction. Gardening is also a primal activity - it has been around since we decided that growing plants might be as useful as running after prey with our spears all day. It is a natural process of tending to nature and breathing in the oxygen from the trees surrounding the garden and allows us to connect to life in the outdoors, all the while being conscious of the activity we are doing.
Working in the garden can also be a natural mood booster, as being in nature and in the outdoors can reduce feelings of stress that can occur any day. The act of nurturing another living thing can give a sense of purpose, as well as providing the benefits of being active outdoors, which has been proven to be more beneficial for mental wellbeing than exercising indoors. Mood disorders such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a particular problem for people living in the UK, improve with being exposed to natural light. And as the days are longer in the summertime, an activity such as gardening is a great way to take advantage of the hot summer days while feeling very productive and centred.
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