According to an article by Laura Drotleff from Greenhouse Grower Magazine in February, 2016, “Gardening is a stress-buster and offers an ideal break from technology.” She explained that when our capacity to focus on our technologies reaches a saturation point, we become more prone to errors, distractions, and stress. She says this attention fatigue can be reversed by engaging in a different form of attention, called “involuntary attention”, as opposed to the effort and stress-filled forced attention required to comprehend technologies. These replenishing types of attentions are those we typically use to enjoy nature. Hence, relieve stress by gardening.
She goes on to say, “Gardening may be even a more effective stress buster than other leisure activities.” She cited a study done in the Netherlands (as reported by CNN) which adds to our understanding of just how much gardening contributes to our peace and contentment. Groups of students who had just finished a stressful task were then divided into one group that did some recreational gardening and another group that did some recreational reading. The group that gardened were then found to have “lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.” Objective proof that gardening reduces stress!
A perfect example of how gardening helps relieve stress is the story of my mother. When my father was in his late 70s he had a massive stroke, which left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life and unable to tend to his garden (which was legendary). My mother’s life completely changed from having the role of wife to now having the role of full-time nurse as my father was completely dependent on her. My mother learned to love my father’s garden as it became her refuge and a place of solace. Her garden was considered holy ground, and she was the new master of it. Though she continued to grow the same vegetables my father grew, she added to the garden her own master’s touch by mixing roses, irises and daisies in between the mounds and rows. After my father died, the garden continued to help my mother by giving her the ability to cope, overcome depression, and giving her strength in body, mind and spirit.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.