Nature benefits: Being in a garden can make you feel good

Our ambassador Annabelle Padwick talks about the positive impact gardening has had on her health and wellbeing in the video below.

Gardening and time in nature offer enormous potential to improve our health.

Ask any gardener what they enjoy most about spending time in their garden and the answer you’re likely to hear most is: `It makes me feel good’.

Just looking at plants, according to a Japanese study, can help reduce stress, fear, anger and sadness, as well as blood pressure, pulse rate and muscle tension.

There’s evidence from environmental psychology that time in nature can tackle mental fatigue and have a positive impact on our brain chemistry influencing the release of serotonin and cortisol.

'Most people feel better for being outside, most of us recognise the relaxation that time in nature provides,’ says Damien Newman, Thrive’s Training, Education and Consultancy Manager.

'But perhaps fewer people use it as a strategy or by design within their lifestyle for mental wellness and considering access to gardens and nature can be free, and has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on self-reported feelings of wellbeing, this is a missed opportunity.’

Safe spaces

Here at Thrive we work with people facing all sorts of challenges due to ill-health and disability and we use the garden as a vehicle to help them achieve positive changes they desire for themselves.

'We see first-hand how gardens and nature can support people in recovery and we know many go on to continue using nature as a support to wellbeing and positive mental health,’ says Damien.

'We want to see more people using gardening to maintain good health because it offers so much for our overall wellbeing.

'Gardens are safe spaces within nature where we can get a tremendous sense of purpose and meaning from nurturing plants, while the sheer variety of gardening activities means there is always something where we can focus on what we can do, rather than what we can’t which is a way of escaping feelings of limitation.

`A garden is the perfect environment to be active, take notice, connect, keep learning and give,’ says Damien.

Tips for easier gardening – Propagating herbs

Photo by Al Kawasa on Unsplash

Get a herb plant, such as rosemary. Select 7-10cm of your cutting plant without flower buds and make a straight cut. Remove all the leaves from the lower half of the cutting.

Fill a 13cm pot with a 50/50 sand and compost mix and put cuttings around pot edge. Ensure they don’t touch.

Water and label. Place 4 canes around the pot edge and cover with polythene bag. Secure bag with elastic band.

Put pot in bright spot but not direct sunlight. Remove bag often to allow air to cuttings. Check if cuttings have rooted by gently tugging one of leaves.

Gardens to enjoy

Don’t have a garden? You can still experience the feel-good factor by enjoy other people’s:

Find out more

  Gardening with a disability?

Thrive's Carry on Gardening website has lots more practical tips to help you continue gardening. 
  Physical Health Benefits

Gardening has benefits that go beyond good exercise, or go back to our It's Not Just Gardening home page.
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