Can Gardening Actually Make You Happy? Yes, And Here Are 10 Reasons Why

 

As a kid, let’s just say I “apprenticed” in my grandparents’ garden, year after year. I watched with baited breath as my grandfather prepared the soil; anticipating the moment he would signal me to sprinkle in the vegetable seeds, or place the little tomato plants into their grooves. Then my grandmother and I would weed the irises and tulips that lined our little back yard; water the hydrangeas; and prune the rose bushes that bordered along the front wall. On Sundays I would go see my other grandparents—the ones who hoisted water up from a bucket in a well to moisten the soil around their grape arbor, and who would wrap and bury their fig trees in the winter. In other words, in my family, gardening was no trivial pursuit.

But if you think I inherited even a tip of a green thumbnail, think again. Year after year I continue to plant my basil, parsley, oregano, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and lettuce. Maybe 1/5th of what I plant actually turns into what it is supposed to. But that’s beside the point. I garden anyway.  I garden because I must garden. Because gardening brings be back to the days of my grandparents. Because gardening  brings me joy—even if it doesn’t bring me flowers or vegetables.

Research shows that nature has a significant effect specifically on the well-being of older adults. For example, hospital patients who have a window, through which they can view trees or plants, heal faster than those who just have walls to look at. Similarly, gardening has been shown to positively impact both emotional and physical health of those who plant, water, reap, and admire. In a study that surveyed 331 older adult Australian gardeners, gardening was seen as critical to their physical and psychological well-being.

Plus, the older we are, the more benefits we derive from gardening. Such as the following:

  1. Aesthetic beauty that lifts our mood

  2. A connection with nature, which affirms our place in the universe

  3. Physical exercise from bending, weeding, hoeing, digging

  4. Fresh air and vitamin D from the sunshine

  5. A sense of achievement

  6. A meditation effect as we dig our hands into the soil

  7. Stress reduction as we immerse ourselves in the process

  8. Engagement with life

  9. Greater consumption of fruits and vegetables

  10. Food to feed your body; flowers to feed your soul.

It may be snowing outside but Spring is just around the corner. So start planning your “horticulture therapy” now and look forward to an extra seasonal dose of happiness!

Let’s start a discussion. What do you like to plant in the Spring?

Reference

Scott, T.L., Masser, B.M., & Pachana, N.A. (2015). Exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening for older adults. Aging & Society (35) 2176-2200.

© Raeleen Mautner, LLC

8 thoughts on “Can Gardening Actually Make You Happy? Yes, And Here Are 10 Reasons Why

  1. Mom and Dad did the small farming then gardening until almost  the day they died..Mom age 87(gardening was her first Love) and Dad, age 96.. I have pictures of him bending over  doing his gardening when he was 94…….later lost mobility…ME.. I have a small area her that I do a little with but can’t really call it GARDENING..take willow for a walk…This was a good one..brought back happy memories.Fran

    From: The Psychology of Aging Happy To: calzetta@sbcglobal.net Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 9:27 PM Subject: [New post] Can Gardening Actually Make You Happy? Yes, And Here Are 10 Reasons Why #yiv0377525579 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0377525579 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0377525579 a.yiv0377525579primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0377525579 a.yiv0377525579primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0377525579 a.yiv0377525579primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0377525579 a.yiv0377525579primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0377525579 WordPress.com | Raeleen Mautner, Ph.D. posted: ” As a kid, let’s just say I “apprenticed” in my grandparents’ garden, year after year. I watched with baited breath as my grandfather prepared the soil; anticipating the moment he would signal me to sprinkle in the vegetable seeds, or place the l” | |

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