Gardening can improve your mood, foster healing and even help overcome anxiety. Studies have revealed that gardening has a positive effect on human health. Gardens and the process of gardening can improve your health and general well-being. A garden can stimulate and relax your mind.

According to a report published by Mind, a UK charity, in 2013, ecotherapy improves mental health and can help people at risk of developing mental disorders. The therapy is also beneficial to people with prevailing mental health problems.

A study conducted by the Philadelphia Gardening Programme in 1991 found that people garden for many reasons, including mental and physical health benefits, exercise and production of quality and nutrition. Blair and other researchers engaged in the study found that recreation was the major reason for gardening.

Viewing green space in gardens is also beneficial to mental health. Here are 10 ways gardening can improve your mental health and thus self-growth:

Top 10 Ways to Self- Growth through Gardening

1. Creates a Connection with Other Living Things

Self-absorption and being insular can lead to depression. Gardening creates a connection with other living things, reminding you that there’s more to the universe than just humans. Focusing outdoors, including just being in your patio, makes you more aware of other living things in the universe.

According to a 2003 study, prisoners and persons in mental health units can benefit from group gardening. The social nature of group gardening focuses on collective aspirations and skills instead of personal or individual deficits and symptoms.

Moreover, gardening in a fenced or walled area help people living in confines metaphorically and literally. They feel safe and gain the ability to grow their horizons and possibilities, helping with self-growth.

2. Acknowledges Life and Death

Gardening can help you understand life and its cycle, including death. Rituals help people overcome negative emotions such as grief. Similarly, gardening works as a kind of ritual that reflects life and death. It symbolizes regeneration.

It explains why people create remembrance gardens with shrubs, roses and trees then scatter graves or ashes of loved ones amongst them. The ritual act acknowledges that we came from dust and thus bound to return to dust.

3. Gives a Sense of Responsibility

Gardening can help you learn how to take care of other living things and accord them the respect they deserve. Allocate your kids small portions of gardens in your backyard to give them a sense of responsibility. They won’t just garden their favorite plants, but also get to appreciate Mother Nature and what it has to offer.

4. Relaxes the Mind, Relieving Negative Thoughts

Gardening can be both social and anti-social. Its latter aspect renders it peaceful. You can escape from people and the noise in the world through gardening. According to Freudian Psychology, flowers lack conflict and emotions, making them relaxing to view.

Growing plants in grow bags or beds allows you to explore your carefree self without things such as mortgage, deadlines or even annoying neighbors or colleagues to worry about. Horticulture involves tilling, planting or sowing, trimming, weeding, sweeping, etc. Such tasks are rhythmic in nature, meaning your thoughts get to flow and ebb in tune to your body movements.

Take a break from your stressful or mind-boggling work to engage in gardening and relax your mind. With better flow of thoughts, you’re in a better position to come up with solutions or find the answers you seek. A task in gardening can clear your mind of thoughts, letting it settle to better process ideas.

Furthermore, you save on the time you’d waste getting stressed and forcing your mind to work when it’s in a chaotic state.

5. Gives a Sense of Control

Anxiety can overwhelm you with thoughts and negative emotions. It can make you lose your sense of control. Although trying to control people is neither good nor bound to result in a positive outcome, you need control over your life and actions.

Gardening gives you control over your beds, plants and even borders, making it a fulfilling experience. With the satisfaction you get in gardening, you can better control your life and emotions as part of self-growth.

6. Hones Your Nurturing Skills

We’re all born nurturers and there’s no better way to showcase that than through gardening. Despite your gender, race, sexuality, education or even class in society, gardening can hone and bring out your nurturing skills.

It means persons with mental health issues can easily grow plants of their liking and harvest from the fruits of their labor. As a result, they experience increased self-esteem because gardening is a transformative activity beneficial to the mind.

7. Triggers the Release of ‘Happy’ Hormones

Gardening isn’t just a form of exercise, but also allows you to spend time outdoors. The increased body activity isn’t just beneficial for your body, but also mind. Gardening is a fun activity that makes you feel good. It triggers positive thoughts and expectations. Exercising your body triggers the brain to release ‘happy’ hormones, dopamine and serotonin.

Therefore, cortisol hormones responsible for causing stress reduce in blood. The activity can be tiring, but promotes better sleep, burns excess calories and makes you feel rejuvenated. It means you get to enjoy better mental health.

8. Relieves Pent Up Aggression and Anger Emotions

Nature has positive and negative sides worth noting. Gardening is therapeutic. It has the power to help you relieve pent up aggression and anger, including other negative emotions. It also gives you an opportunity to nurture those negativities into positivity. Instead of yelling at your pet or banging your door, work on your garden.

Use the energy to benefit your garden. Consider pruning your fruit trees or yacking your hedges. Your garden is bound to benefit from renewed growth.

9. Teaches How to Live in the Present

Focus on your today, the present. Let go of the past and worry not about the future to reduce anxiety. Living in the present allows you to focus on only what’s important. It can improve your mood and calm your mind. Gardening can teach you how to live in the present and enjoy the moment. Visit your flower garden when feeling restless or stressed.

Take a few moments to feel your sense of touch, smell, sight and even hearing. Listen to the birds singing on your fruit trees. Marvel at and smell the beautiful flowers blooming in your garden. Enjoy the smell of roses in your garden and appreciate every sense of it. Enjoy the restorative aspect of nature.

10. Start Small

Gardening can seem overwhelming for beginners. However, you don’t need a large space to garden. In fact, you can even embark in container gardening. Recycled containers, pots or hanging baskets can create the garden you need to seek inspiration and relax whenever you’re stressed or depressed.

If you have kids make sure every gardening item you pick is kid-friendly. It ensures your little ones are safe if they go out of sight even for just a few minutes.


Clearly, gardens are naturally restorative. They can help kids to focus and perform better at school. It can also improve your mood and thus satisfaction with life or happiness. It engages, promotes the feeling of relaxation and contentment and improves your general well-being.

Whichever reason you want to garden, you won’t go wrong with gardening for mental health. You get to enjoy the experience of gardening and even eat fresh produce from your own garden.

Contact me to today learn more about self-growth and how you can improve your efforts to a better you.

Author's Bio: 

Mercy is a passionate gardener and writer/editor. She loves gardening and sharing how her passion can help improve your mental health. Interact with her and read her articles to learn about gardening and mental health.