You can ask any passionate gardener (including myself) why they love gardening so much, and you’ll get a variety of different answers. From fitness to your mental well-being, the benefits you can gain from gardening to increase your happiness are unbelievable. But that got me thinking, what are the actual scientific reasons to why gardening makes you happy?
Researchers from Bristol University discovered that mycobacterium, which is found in soil, can help increase your production of serotonin. This hormone is used to stabilize your mood, feelings, and happiness. Meaning that while getting your hands dirty, you’re gaining access to a natural anti-depressant.
Apart from science providing us with the actual reason behind why gardening makes you happy, there’s a lot more to it. Gardening is an environmentalist’s hobby and for people that love going outdoors and interacting with greenery. But although it can increase your serotonin production, it can provide you with happiness in many other ways.
I understand this and want to break down more reasons to why we gardeners feel this way. Below, we go into detail about why this hobby makes us happy and why it feels so therapeutic.
Why Gardening Makes You Happy
Whether you’re new to gardening or a complete expert within the field, the reasons why gardening makes you so happy can vary massively. For some, it might enhance their well-being because they’re living sustainably, and others could enjoy it more due to the fitness it provides. Nevertheless, both provide us with something professionals call ecotherapy treatment. This treatment has been proven to be a remarkable way to counteract many mental health issues with nature.
Here are some additional reasons to why gardening makes you happy:
1.It keeps you healthy
By getting outside and using your body’s mobility promotes physical and mental health, and gardening certainly isn’t an exception from this. To be a gardener, you’ll need to perform several movements that can provide a healthy amount of usage to your muscles and bones. In your garden, you’ll need to dig, rake, walk, lift, harvest, and crouch down to remove weeds. All of the mentioned activities are relatively easy to complete, but they can provide exceptional benefits to your body.
It’s been mentioned that pulling weeds, planting flowers, or performing a similar action for around an hour can burn between 200-400 calories. This is astonishing, considering experts recommend that you burn at least 400 to 500 calories per day (depending on your BMI).
Gardening is something I like to call “stealth” exercising. You don’t realize you’re burning calories because you’re enjoying the activity you’re doing. Without a doubt, it’s something that everyone should be considering if they don’t have the time of day or motivation to enter a gym. As people like to say, “something is better than nothing,” and it certainly applies here.
2.Soil is a natural anti-depressant
As mentioned above, a microbe that has been discovered in soil is mycobacterium. This provides similar benefits to what anti-depressants would do. This is because it can enhance the production of serotonin, which is used to stabilize many mental well-being issues such as depression, bipolar, and anxiety.
Mycobacterium has been used for several years with cancer patients, as it has been reported that they gain a better quality of life after being issued the microbe. The microbe isn’t used to defeat cancer but can instead increase the patient’s emotional well-being after treatment. As a result of this, doctors found out that patients had better brain function and energy after receiving mycobacterium after treatments like chemotherapy, from those who didn’t.
To back their findings, they also performed a study on mice. The results were as expected. When mice were introduced to mycobacterium, their levels of serotonin increase. After gathering this data, scientists across the world wanted to find out more about this soil anti-depressant.
Therefore, another fascinating study was conducted by the American Society of Microbiology. For their test, they wanted to see if mice could navigate around a maze faster after having mycobacterium. After gathering the data, the results showed that mice could complete the maze quicker after receiving this microbe.
3.Increases dopamine levels
As we’re already talking about science, let’s discuss about the increased levels of dopamine gardening can produce. Gardening doesn’t just make us happy because we find it enjoyable, but deep down inside of our brains, it’s running a factory that’s producing these healthy chemicals.
For those who don’t know, dopamine is a potent neurotransmitter that makes us feel pleasure and reward. Spending time in nature and developing a garden you’re proud of will constantly reproduce this reaction and make us feel good.
If you don’t partake in activities that offer you rewards, you’ll have little dopamine circulating in your brain. As a result of this, you can develop many mental illnesses. The lack of dopamine in your body can play a significant role in the following conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
But remember, this isn’t the primary source of the above mental-health issues, but dopamine is related to affect them.
From just combining the above advantages you can gain from gardening should be a clear indication of why it makes you so happy. By naturally producing these extremely needed well-being chemicals, fitness, and therapy sessions, your life can reek many benefits and make you feel satisfied.
4.Enhances vitamin D consumption
Sunshine is a great natural source of vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for keeping your bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. An inefficient amount of this vitamin can make you more subjective to developing deformities, like rickets or bone conditions similar to osteomalacia.
Apart from the physical benefits it can provide to make your life much more enjoyable. It’s also proven to make you feel happier. This study discovered that people who suffer from mental health issues, like depression, have much lower vitamin D levels.
From pulling out weeds, harvesting your crops, or doing maintenance on your plants, can all offer you an increased level of vitamin D. However, apart from gaining this crucial vitamin, just from being outside can lower many life problems. These include:
- Mood – By spending time outside, researchers have found that nature makes us happy, and that’s the exact reason why they introduced ecotherapy treatment.
- Focus – From going outside, you’re able to generate concentration again.
- Recovery – After illnesses or surgeries, being outside can actually reduce the time it takes to recover.
- Aging – It’s been proven that going outside can stop many aging issues, such as sleep, aches, and mobility.
5. Fight’s climate change
Another reason why gardening makes us so happy could be that it’s great for our environment and helps fight climate change. If you’re contributing to growing your own native plants, or fruit and veg, it can make you feel delighted. Having peace of mind, knowing that you’re giving back can generally make you feel better about your life decisions.
Doing your own gardening can help the environment in many ways. Here’s how:
- Control over chemicals – Although many countries worldwide have put a type of ban on using deadly chemicals on crops that are sold to the public. Many still use pesticides that can cause harmful effects in the long run. This isn’t just bad for humans, but also the environment of where the crops are.
- Reduces carbon footprint – It goes without saying most fruit and veg are transported from overseas. By growing it yourself, you’re eliminating this hazardous factor to our climate.
- Plastic Free – Many supermarkets bag or box their fruit, veg and plants for re-sale, this is unneeded and can be a considerable amount of waste. From home growing, you’re counteracting this issue entirely as they’ll be no need for plastic.
6.Children love it
Gardening can also benefit our younger generation, and the hobby itself can offer a great bonding experience. Whether you have young children, grandkids, or siblings, getting out in the garden and teaching them the basic fundamentals of gardening can be great fun and educational. Remember, gardening is a huge part of a biology and maths class, so why not start them early? By doing this, you’ll get them ahead of their peers, and they’ll be able to perform in school at a higher standard.
Apart from the above, it also offers them many life lessons. Nowadays, not many children know anything about gardening, so introducing them to the hobby is crucial.
7. It’s easily accessible
Lastly, it’s widely available for everyone and requires minimal travel. You could have a small apartment and have indoor plants or acres of land and still have the ability to perform some gardening. It’s also inexpensive and can actually save you additional money on your weekly food shop if you grow your own fruit or vegetables.
As you’re able to see from the above, there are many different reasons why gardening makes us so happy as individuals. Of course, the reason why gardening makes you happy will vary from gardener to gardener, but nonetheless, it provides the same outcome.
Why is Gardening So Therapeutic?
Now you know why gardening makes you so happy, what about the therapeutic side of it? Although this question can seem rather odd to any non-gardener, the hobby is actually used as therapy. This therapy is called ecotherapy treatment, and it helps treat many mental health issues with nature. But, how does gardening provide this type of feeling in today’s society?
It provides responsibility
The main reason why gardening feels and is used as therapy is that it offers us an act of responsibility. Having to grow and monitor the growth stages of your plants, vegetables or fruits, makes you accountable for how well they grow or flourish.
Apart from the accountability, it also keeps you connected with genuine living things. Looking after your garden can give you a reminder that you exist in this universe. Self-absorption is expected in the elderly, and it can lead to some mental health issues like depression. To counteract this, gardening is the ideal therapy.
You’re able to gather thoughts
Within this busy modern world, it can seem challenging to reach peacefulness and relax your mind for a second. While gardening can be a great activity to socialize with, it’s always fantastic to do it yourself.
Humans are just like batteries. They can only work for a set amount of time before having to be recharged. Experts recommend that you take at least a 30-minute break each day for yourself. By doing this, you’ll massively reduce your chances of burning out and obtaining any health issues such as anxiety.
It produces a release of good hormones
As we’ve mentioned above, gardening can produce many hormones that are related to your well-being. The production of your “happy” cells (dopamine) increases as gardening can be a gratifying hobby. Let’s not forget the enhanced amount of serotonin generated by the enjoyment of the activity and the soil.
Gardening is easy
Gardening can really be as easy or complex as you like. Growing and maintaining a garden is a slow process, and nothing has to be rushed. It’s not like you’ll become stressed or overworked because something needs to be accomplished on a specific date.
To an outsider, gardening may seem like a troublesome task. But when you realize that it’s relatively easy, the possibilities are truly endless.
The above is just a majority of reasons why gardening feels therapeutic, and there are many more depending on the gardener. The remarkable thing about gardening is that it’s easily accessible to everyone. No matter which country you live in, the climate, your income, or the area of living you own, everyone can get involved with gardening. You could start off with a few plants or a complete garden and still reek the same benefits as everybody else.
As you’re able to grasp from this post, gardening can be highly beneficial for many people. Gardening doesn’t just make people happy, there is much more to it physically and mentally. As mentioned, gardening can release some significant “happy” hormones that make us less likely to gain mental health-related issues.
However, apart from the mental benefits you’re able to access when gardening, you can also gain some great physical ones as well. Remember, gardening is a physical activity. It requires you to lift, crouch, or pull heavy gardening items. By doing this, you’re keeping yourself fit, but just in a fun way.
Now you know why gardening makes you happy, what should you do? Well, it’ll be silly to stop, happiness is great, and you should continue doing it if it’s making you feel that way.