Gardening promotes mental health
Gardening and caring for plants has positive effects on mental health, even if you’ve never gardened before. Gardening twice a week can reduce stress, anxiety and depression in healthy women, according to a recent study. Similar effects were also observed in artistic activities.
A new study involving researchers from the University of Florida hypothesized that participating in indoor gardening or art activities in a group would provide quantifiable therapeutic benefits. The results were published in the journal “PLOS ONE”.
The health status of the participants was examined
A total of 32 women between the ages of 26 and 49 were examined in the study. All participants were healthy at baseline.
The researchers assigned half of the participants to gardening classes. The other half participated in artistic activities and served as a control group. The two groups met twice a week and there were a total of eight meetings over a four week period.
What was taught in gardening classes?
In the gardening classes, the women learned how to compare and sow seeds, plant different types of plants and harvest edible plants, which were also tasted.
In art classes, on the other hand, participants learned different techniques, such as papermaking, printing, drawing and collages.
Gardening reduces anxiety
Finally, various tests were used to measure the existing fears, depression, stress and mood of the participating women.
The team found that mental health in gardening and art groups similarly improved over time. It was noted that the women in the garden group reported states of anxiety somewhat less frequently.
Even healthy people benefit from gardening
“Previous studies have shown that gardening can help improve the mental health of people who already have illnesses or problems. Our study shows that even healthy people can see an improvement in their psychological well-being from gardening,” study author Charles Guy said in a press release.
“Gardening and artistic pursuits are about learning, planning, creativity and physical activity, and both are used therapeutically in medical settings. This makes them scientifically more comparable than, say, gardening and bowling or gardening and reading,” Guy adds.
Use of plants in health care
Larger studies are now needed to learn more about how gardening is linked to changes in mental health. This research holds promising potential for mental wellness, plants in healthcare and public health.
Why do plants improve well-being?
Given the observed effects, the question arises as to why the well-being of people increases in the vicinity of plants. The answer to this question may lie in the importance of plants in human evolution and the emergence of civilization, the team explains.
Humans depend on plants for their survival
It is therefore possible that people are naturally drawn to plants. This could be because humans depend on plants for things like food, shelter, and survival.
Gardening as a new passion
After completing the study, many participants discovered a new passion. “At the end of the experiment, many participants said not only how much they enjoyed the sessions, but also that they planned to continue gardening,” Guy reports. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Raymond Odeh, Elizabeth RM Diehl, Sara Jo Nixon, C Craig Tisher, Dylan Klempner, et al. : A pilot randomized controlled trial of group gardening and indoor art activities demonstrates therapeutic benefits for healthy women; in: PLOS ONE (published 06/07/2022), PLOS ONEUniversity of Florida: Gardening can cultivate better mental health (published 06/07/2022), University of Florida
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.