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
Hi Min & Melynda! Unfortunately, I don’t have a green thumb and am envious of those who can produce beautiful blooms. I do however, love gardens and visiting gardens to sit and reflect. I’ve been fortunate to visit some beautiful and peaceful gardens all over the world and it is so good for the soul to sit and just ‘be’ amongst the flowers, shrubs and trees. I see many benefits of gardening apart from being good for your mental health, it can also be a physical workout. Thanks Min for another delightful guest in your #ZTT.
I used to be a lot more active in the garden Sue, but not quite as much now. The heat in summer makes it difficult here in Brisbane. However, I do still enjoy pottering out there (just need help with heavier work) and LOVE being out in the garden or nature in any way. I most definitely feel the benefits and in fact KNOW that it is a way to lift my spirits when they are flagging. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading Melynda’s reasons that gardening or just being out in the garden makes us feel so good. So glad you’ve enjoyed it too! x
Hi Min, thanks for sharing at #MLSTL I know there are a few gardeners who link up so they will appreciate this. You might also encourage others to give it a try. xx
Thanks Sue – my pleasure to link up with #MLSTL. I’m actually looking forward to the cooler weather here in Brisbane – that’s when I tend to do more gardening. It’s just too hot in summer! 🙂 xo
Lovely post. I really did not ‘understand’ the garden thing until we moved from the city to our rented houses. Then I found some respite from any sadness or anxiety was to DO something in the garden: planting, pruning, encouraging plants and flowers. Since then I have fallen in love with succulents and am making a great show of these on our small back porch.
I’m glad you discovered the delights and benefits of gardening Denyse. Even just sitting in the garden or walking around the garden brings benefits. I’d love to see your succulents. I love them too! 🙂 x
My friend loves her garden for the stress relief and peace that it brings to her life. I’m not a fan of pulling weeds and fertilizing, and I have a grey thumb (it’s a standing joke in my family about my ability to kill innocent plants!) but I do love a beautiful flower garden to wander through – that someone else has done the maintenance for 🙂
I quite like a bit of time gardening Leanne but it depends on the soil situation. If it’s loose, easy to dig in garden soil then I love to get my hands dirty and tuck into some gardening. BUT if it’s that rock hard clay situation – no can do! That’s not the kind of gardening I like to do. I also love wandering through gardens and sitting in gardens. I love to visit botanic gardens and did you get to visit Roma Street Parklands when you were in Brisbane? They are just beautiful! Thanks for dropping by and linking up for #ZTT. Have a great week! 🙂 xo
No I didn’t get to Roma Street gardens – I’d been told they were lovely, but the heat at the botanical gardens (as soon as we left the river edge) turned me off trudging out to find more gardens to walk through. I’ll come at a better time of the year next time and add them to my list!
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂
Don’t blame you not wanting to walk around in the heat anymore than necessary when you were here. It was SUPER HOT when you were here (not as bad now). Yes next time don’t come in Feb – maybe May or September perhaps! 🙂 xo
I’m a big believer in the benefits of a garden for health and wellbeing, even if it’s only to smell the scents and admire somebody else’s gardening efforts LOL!
Great to see you here Janet! I agree – gardens, whether you tend it yourself or just admire someone else’s, all have benefits to us! 🙂 xo
I’m not much of a gardener but I do enjoy trying to keep a little plant I got for xmas alive…
That made me laugh Lydia! LOL Good luck at keeping your little Christmas plant alive! 🙂
I love to both visit gardens and create them. I always find it peaceful. it is also instant gratification- fill a pot, add some flowers and voila! Beauty! It is February and that means freezing cold and a lot of snow here now so I am craving gardens!
I’m the same Michele. Don’t like the really heavy gardening work anymore but love a potter in the garden and love potting up some pretties and watering and admiring! No snow here but I can understand you craving some gardens. Not long till things should start warming up over your way! 🙂
Hi Min and Melynda! Great post about gardening and health benefits of gardens. My daily walk takes me by a public garden and I love it, even in the winter. I grow my own garden in the summer when I’m at home and not travelling. I linked up one of my posts about the Majorelle Garden that I visited in Morocco. #MLSTL and #ZTT
Hi Natalie – it’s amazing how just even admiring a garden has an effect on our mood and sense of wellbeing isn’t it? It’s great that you can still enjoy some gardens even in your winter over there! Thank you for linking up with #ZTT. I’m heading over now to read your post about the Majorelle Garden! 🙂
I love gardening, but more than that I love looking at my garden when it’s blooming. I think actually ‘getting out’ in the garden is the hard bit – I’d probably rather be blogging! But when I’m out there I can just get carried away from one job to the other. I didn’t realise that Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers release of serotonin – the “feel good chemical”—in our brains. So that’s why I feel happy after a stint in the garden! Shared on Social Media.
I agree Jo – the getting out in the garden part is the hard bit …. well these days anyway. I used to do a lot more of that when I was younger – not that I’m old now but I certainly was more flexible and the heat didn’t bother me as much then. However, I still love a potter and still ‘garden’ and love being out in the garden or great outdoors generally! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I love gardening and being in the garden, but unfortunately I no longer live in a house where I can grow flowers, vegies, and trees. I used to love harvesting my vegies and using them in the kitchen. It was great to teach my daughter all about nature, as well. After reading your post, I now understand why it’s so good! I miss it a lot, and I do keep some plants in the flat, but it’s really not the same as having a garden to get your hands dirty in. Visiting from MLSTL and pinned. 🙂
If you have an outdoor balcony or patio area you could still get to experience some gardening/harvesting. It’s amazing what you can do with potted plants. You can havea herb garden in pots and even grow things like tomatoes etc. 🙂
Hi Min, I know, balcony gardens can be amazing. I have a small balcony, but unfortunately it doesn’t get any sun at all. Plus, living in Moscow, the weather’s not that great most of the year, summer isn’t really long enough to grow anything. 🙁 So, I just have to live with the memories of gardening for now. 🙂
Oh I didn’t realise you were in Moscow and with those conditions Cheryl. How sad! Could have a few indoor pot plants or a terrarium, or maybe those don’t do so well over there either. I have no idea!
Having had a big vegetable garden I can really relate to this. I no longer do because we are so well served here by farmers’ markets but I still love to pick a few fresh herbs to top off a meal. Pinning this
I used to have a veggie garden at my last house too Jan. Not anymore as we don’t have as much yard (it’s mostly pool) now. I do have some potted herbs though! 🙂