Do you find your mind whirling at the end of a busy day? Have you noticed you are starting to forget things? Does your brain ache with all the screen time it’s subjected to?
Looking after your mind and keeping it razor sharp is more important than ever. The changing attitudes toward mental health and the stigma it once carried is now being washed away and that’s a fantastic thing: it means that more people, men and women, are talking about their own mental health, from depression to anxiety.
And then there is the ticking health bomb that is dementia, the illness, say scientists, that is now the biggest health issue for our country, and many other countries too.
Research helps our understanding, both of why dementia and other illnesses happen, and how to treat them. As well as medication, people are being advised, supported and encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle.
From eating healthier to enjoying the sunshine lounging on your outdoor sofa, the garden can be a tool in helping you to keep your mind sharp. Here’s how;
#1 It keeps you active
There are links between mental health and physical health. Certainly, doctors believe that part of dealing with mental health issues is to be as active as possible.
Physical activity produces ‘good’ hormones and chemicals in the body that help the brain to create feel good hormones that help to counter ‘the blues’, as well as more serious depression. From anxiety to compulsive disorders, one of the many subscribed treatments is to try and increase the level of physical exercise.
There is another school of thought that also suggest that moderate exercise in fresh air and a little sunshine to help create vitamin D in the skin is also beneficial. And that’s where your garden comes in.
Half an hour ‘pottering’ in the garden as fantastic effects of your physical and emotional health, much better, say some, than half an hour sat on the sofa watching TV.
#2 Grow your own
You don’t have to own a huge garden or have an allotment to grow your own veg, simply because most vegetable plants are simple things. In order to keep their species growing, they need to produce fruit as quickly as possible and then disperse it.
Tomato plants in grow bags in the porch, potatoes in the flower beds, along with other vegetables and herbs amongst the blooms all create lovely crops of delicious veg that helps keep your mind and body in great shape.
You consume fewer pesticides and chemicals because you use only homemade pest remedies, and there is also something very satisfying about eating the veg you have grown yourself.
#3 Improve your immune system
We live in a world increasingly obsessed with antibacterial products, from wipes to hand wash. Whilst there is clearly a case for keeping your hands and work surfaces free from dangerous pathogens, the obsession with ‘not getting dirty’ is not doing much for our immune system.
Not only does gardening help to keep your mind alert, time spent completing outdoor activities helps your immune system too.
#4 It is a naturally therapeutic environment
There are various studies about how the gardening environment can be therapeutic to children and adults. From helping those with emotional and behavioural issues to a place where people with dementia feel safe and nurtured, the evidence that the ‘great outdoors’ and the gardening particular can do to help emotional and mental health issues is staggering.
It helps you to heal, it can lower blood pressure, it can slow your spinning mind and the garden is just an all-round lovely place to be.
#5 Your garden can change with you
A garden is a versatile place. What you need from your garden, the way it looks and so on may be very different to the garden of your neighbours, who have children and pets. And then your garden can look different now to how it did 10 years go. Better still, it will change to accommodate your needs in the future too.
Your garden doesn’t have to be on the scale of Hyde Park. It can be a small, 8 by 6-foot space full of pots and fairy lights. Or it could be a vast grassed area with raised beds and a greenhouse for young plants.
You can be the font of all gardening knowledge or have very little, a garden is a great place for everyone. So use it, and look after your mind, body and soul.
Along with their customers, Rattan Direct have long suspected that gardening is beneficial to mind, body and soul. But with science now proving gardeners right, there is no excuse not to start enjoying your garden, no matter how big or small your patch!