ZEN TIP TUESDAY #6
For ZTT #6 – a big welcome to Melynda (Mel) who shares with us some amazing facts on how and why gardening can bring us a sense of peace and wellness. You’ll find some links to Mel’s blog and social media where you can find out more about her in her Bio at the end of this post.
I don’t know about you but I adore plants, nature, and time spent outdoors in the garden. It’s wonderful to now better understand why these activities leave me feeling so much brighter!
If you’re linking up for ZTT Link-Up #004, welcome and thank you.
Ciao from me and enjoy!
Wandering through my garden last summer, bees buzzing and lavender scent wafting around my wheelbarrow, I started thinking about how great I feel in the garden.
Turns out, I am not the only person feeling peace and wellness while digging in the dirt. There are a host of reasons we all feel good in the garden.
For one, environmental triggers in the garden can increase feel good chemicals in your body. According to Medical News Today, a particular bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers release of serotonin – the “feel good chemical”—in our brains. Serotonin makes us feel happy and boosts our immune systems. Lack of serotonin in the brain is one of the causes of depression. That’s pretty good work for something microscopic.
We also get a shot of dopamine when we harvest from the garden. Scientists think because our ancestors depended on hunting and gathering, we developed a positive response to successfully acquiring food. That dopamine would make them want to go out and do it again, assuring survival. While we don’t need to get our food from the garden anymore, it still feels good.
A 2015 study showed that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, depletes serotonin and dopamine levels, among other negative effects, so make sure you are harvesting organic fruits and veggies.
If you really don’t like getting your hands dirty or don’t have the space for a personal garden, just visiting a garden can bring a feeling of peace and wellbeing. Botanical gardens around the world have alcoves, sitting areas, scent gardens, and other special places that allow you to soak in the garden goodness.
Interacting with nature delivers measurable benefits to people. Researchers found that time immersed in or observing gardens and natural areas has positive effects on physical health, psychological well-being, cognitive ability, and social cohesion.
Nature and green spaces are connected to spirituality. When we are among plants we often feel like there is something bigger than ourselves. Birdsong, trickling water, and plants rustling in the breeze remind us that we are part of something bigger.
According to an article from the University of Minnesota, “Out in nature, we feel how we are connected to entities beyond ourselves and understand our interdependencies with other living beings. Nature also prompts us to reflect on the ever-changing nature of existence and what might lie beyond it. Nature provides a space in which we can connect spiritually both with ourselves and outside ourselves.”
Flower gardens and other scent-heavy plants act as aromatherapy. Wandering through your garden and smelling lavender or sage relaxes your body and mind. So many fragrant plants can affect our moods, usually in a good way. You can get some of these same effects by diffusing essential oils in a glass nebulizer in your home.
It’s not just the plants and bacteria in the garden that make us feel good. The right garden can attract wildlife. Watching birds and knowing you have provided food and shelter, making the world a little better, feels good.
If you want to increase feel good chemicals, reduce stress, and build spirituality, the garden is the place to be.
Mel is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. She writes about gardening, DIY, and wellness at Mel’s Garden.
ZTT LINK-UP #004