Whoever came up with this quote was definitely on to something. Gardens are special peaceful spaces with restorative qualities that can work wonders when we are stressed and under pressure.
Time and activity in nature is good for us. Evidence strongly suggests that if we spend time in a green environment, then we reduce stress, improve mood and come away self-reporting improved wellbeing. There are more benefits when we garden too which we explore further in our '5 ways to wellbeing using gardens and nature'.
Our training and education manager Damien Newman explains more in this short video.
There’s growing evidence that gardening can benefit our mental health, an important consideration at a time when the NHS is stretched and one in four adults are experiencing mental illness.
Research in Sweden*, for example, found that the more people used their gardens, the fewer incidents of stress they suffered.
A report in the Mental Health Journal* cited gardening as being able to reduce stress and improve mood, with a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Gardeners themselves agree:
While gardens can be relaxing, they can also be places where our efforts result in a real sense of achievement, boosting confidence and self-esteem.
There’s also good evidence that just looking at a green space has positive effects on people’s mental health, helping them relax and de-stress.
Gardening has so much potential for people with defined mental health needs, offering an enormous range of activities and options, more so than any other type of therapeutic activity.
Thrive works with people aged from 14 to 94 with life-long or long-term mental and physical health needs, as well as those recovering from illness and accidents.
Gardeners' World presenter and Thrive Ambassador Mark Lane explains how gardening has helped him in this video.
Our Horticultural Therapists design gardening programmes that are tailored to individuals’ needs, working with them to set goals that will improve their health and wellbeing. We call this process social and therapeutic horticulture (STH).
STH and similar green care interventions can:
Our cultivating wellbeing in gardens and nature course is a free guide to show you how to connect with nature as a tool to restore wellbeing.
If you need more urgent support for your mental health and wellbeing, please access the NHS mental health resources or contact your GP.
Thriving with Nature - Mental Health Foundation and WWF