Reaching a state of ‘Mindfulness’ where we can calmly accept our thoughts and feelings is increasingly difficult in our modern era. The stresses of work, economy and family add to our anxiety and attribute to mental health disorders. Gardening or simply being in a relaxing outdoor area can dramatically improve our wellbeing.
Mindfulness therapies are designed to help reduce stress and treat depression by helping us to be present within a given moment. Enjoying the task at hand helps to remove us from negative emotions. Creative activities such as colouring or physical activities such as swimming are proven to help focus the mind. Gardening provides both creative and physical benefits.
Nurturing the growth and development of your garden provides reward day to day. Whether you are growing new plants to enjoy or feeding wildlife in a quiet area where you reflect, regular activity is a great way to achieve mindfulness.
Our gardens can be very personal and passionate gardeners may spend a lifetime achieving their desired space. I have clients who planted trees when their children were born 30+ years ago. The emotional attachment we have to our gardens or more so the memories and regular attendance of our gardens, become instilled in the way we live our lives.
Mental health issues such as dementia or depression can have a dramatic affect on a person’s day-to-day level of activity. Sometimes the things we once enjoyed become impossible tasks. I have witnessed through some of my clients the devastating effect ill health can have on families, yet in each case the garden has some therapeutic resonance. For dementia sufferers the smell of a particular plant or a familiar garden visitor can offer a pathway to a happy memory or offer comfort. It can be hard for families to watch a once cherished garden to go into decline. It is very rewarding to work with these families to restore their garden to a place for memoriam and reflection.
My own garden always has a long list of things to do and as the weekends are for family, it is a great chance to get everyone involved. Getting grubby in the fresh air working as a team offers lots of memory making opportunities! We would love to hear your garden story!