10 Important Benefits of Gardening for Your Mental Wellbeing

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The benefits of gardening for human life go beyond providing us with food and vegetation. Growing and nurturing your own food and maintaining a healthy ecosystem of flora and fauna have always been a part of the relationship between humans and the environment. But, gardening has been proven to have many positive impacts on your mental health too. Let’s learn more about it!  

It’s a Friday evening and I am writing this post for you from my backyard garden. My mom does an amazing job at maintaining the most beautiful part of our home and I will never get enough of it. 

Initially, I never understood what got her so involved in creating a garden from scratch in the midst of this urban setting. But as I grow older and learn more from her, it has started to make sense. 

My mom grew up in a village with her 8 brothers and sisters. My grandparents owned their fields where all of them use to live & work together. Thus, she has strong roots associated with her time in nature. Also, she’s always up for field work or garden activities. 

Having a home garden is the closest I have come to living life in a “natural environment” in our rural setting. Having a small piece of land dedicated to growing new plants with colorful flowers has been one of my happy pills lately. I have begun enjoying visiting the nursery and investing in plants that grow all year round. 

Gardening isn’t anything new. The history of gardening goes back to that of humans growing food for their survival. But, irrespective of its size, every garden serves many more purposes than just providing food. Gardens are a place to relax and rewind. They restore your connection with nature and with each other, impacting your mental health in a positive way. 

Here are a few gardening and mental health statistics from 2021 that establish the truth behind these claims:

  • Thrive ran several tabletop garden sessions in different cities across the US. Results stated that, out of 317 people, 80% had better mental health and 93% showed improved confidence and motivation.
  • A recent survey conducted during the 2020 pandemic in Singapore concluded that even less than one hour of home gardening contributed significantly to improving the mental health conditions of people during the pandemic. 

Gardening has long been known to be a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Whether you are fond of taking care of your home garden or you like to visit a nursery or you simply love spending some time in nature, the time you spend in nature significantly impacts your mental health. 

This blog will give you deeper insights into how gardening is related to mental health. It will educate you about the 10 benefits of gardening that you can enjoy in your daily life by spending some quality time in the lap of nature. 


10 Important Benefits of Gardening for Your Mental Wellbeing

“Gardens are special peaceful spaces with restorative qualities that can work wonders when we are stressed and under pressure.”~ Anonymous

Whoever came up with this thought knew the psychology behind the amazing benefits of gardening for human life and their mental health. But before we move ahead to learn more on the topic, let’s learn a little about the history and relationship between gardening and mental wellbeing.


The History of Gardening for Mental Wellbeing

Gardening as a day-to-day activity serves as a perfect escape from the urban hustle. It serves as a great option to experience the countryside while residing in the city. Gardening falls under horticulture therapy for mental wellness. Horticulture therapy is defined as the engagement of a person in gardening and plant-based activities under a trained therapist to achieve specific treatment goals.

Both primitive and advanced civilizations in the world have acknowledged the healing power of spending time around plants and nature. The connection between people, nature, and mental wellness is historical. It goes back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptian royals with excessive mental pressure were advised and encouraged to go for walks in their royal gardens.

During the Middle Ages, even though plants were used for medicinal purposes, St. Bernard became an early proponent of using gardens for therapy. He used them to improve people’s moods. Monastery hospitals started the concept of therapy gardens.

Later, during the 18th and 19th centuries, gardening was tested as a clinical therapy. Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the founding fathers of modern psychology, believed that “digging in the dirt” had curative effects. He analyzed the benefits of gardening and concluded that it had a healing effect on his patients.

Many further studies and discoveries got horticulture therapy widely accepted. People working in these horticulture gardens have been recorded to have improved memory, better cognitive abilities, improved language skills, and motor skills. These people are more prone to socialization. Plus, they experienced a major drop in their stress levels. 

Let’s learn about some benefits of gardening in city life.


How Does Gardening Improve Your Mental Health? 10 Benefits of Gardening for You 


1. Relieves stress and anxiety

When you plant a new sapling in your garden, you expose yourself to natural factors like sunlight, wind & water. You get closer to nature by building a connection. This relieves your stress and anxiety by decreasing the levels of your salivary cortisol, a stress hormone. Like reading, unfortunately, gardening is not often considered as the go-to stress-relieving activity. But, you must give it a try as it brings you closer to the rawness of nature.

The sensation of feeling all the dirt in your hands does something to you. And, even if you’re not driven to get your hands all ‘dirty’, just being in your garden and sitting there doing nothing, observing the life around you, is a very calming experience within itself. 


2. Improves your mood

Spending your time in a garden can make you feel peaceful and content. The city lights and the everyday hustle-bustle have taken you away from the true essence of nature. The running lifestyle barely makes you feel satisfied. Gardening lets you escape and reconnect with yourself. The details of gardening tend to reduce negative thoughts. It makes you feel better by keeping you present in the moment.

Being in the garden, listening to the bird chirping around you, witnessing the astonishing colors of these birds, noticing the flutters of a butterfly, paying attention to how the snails crawl, how they immediately hide in their shells as soon as they sense danger; all these are different aspects of life I get to notice in my garden. Especially the butterflies, they immediately uplift my mood. 


3. Boosts your self-esteem

Having self-esteem is all about harnessing the power of positivity and self-belief. It’s about how confident you feel about yourselves, how you value yourself, and how feel about yourself as a person. This brings us to the next benefit of gardening, that it helps in increasing your self-esteem through its process of nurturing your plants. 

benefits of gardening for mental health

Planting a sapling and watching it grow is a big achievement. When you see your hard work pay off, it instills a sense of pride in you. Gardening gives you numerous opportunities to make mistakes and fix them. It helps you to understand that mistakes are a part of the process, thus gardening helps you in boosting your self-esteem and build a growth mindset toward life. 


4. It improves your attention span

The human attention span has dropped up to 8 seconds in recent times. This has dropped your concentration levels and ability to focus as well. But, gardening helps your mental well-being by improving your focus & attention span for the same reason it boosts your self-esteem. Going through the entire process of growing, feeding, nurturing, and yielding your plants makes you more attentive toward their development. 

According to research, when you garden on your property regularly, it reduces the triggers of becoming angry. This impacts your mood positively in a long-lasting way because gardening leads to a great sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. The process of planting a sapling and watching it grow in a plant in front of you gives you a sense of belonging. It eases your senses and makes you more attentive toward their growth. 


5. Provides physical movement

Daily movement & exercise are no secrets when it comes to improving your mental wellbeing. They contribute significantly to your overall wellness. But, if you aren’t a fan of conventional practices to move your body, gardening can be a great way to meet your daily requirement for mobility & exercise. 

Whether it’s a hardcore gardening activity like digging or something simple like watering your plants, gardening is a perfect activity for your body’s exercise needs. It helps strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance, and endurance. It also improves your overall physical health and reduces your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Gardening makes you “exercise” in the sun which decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases endorphins (which are natural mood boosters to make you feel good). 


6. Encourages social bonds

Gardening as a daily activity also fosters community bonding and social interactions. As you step out to water your plants and clean your garden, you might drop into a neighbor and start chatting with them. Thus, you might have also come across community gardens. Joining a gardening club or working in a community garden gives you to opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships. It gives you a sense of purpose and belonging.

Gardening communities are built for people who wish to spend some quiet time. This is something that I have seen personally between my mom and our neighbors. The day my mom decides to do something in her garden, I see our neighbors chatting with her about the growth of our plants, their variety, and their habitat more often than usual.   


7. Helps with depression

The benefits of gardening and spending time in nature have also proven effective in the treatment of depression. Immersing yourself in nature and vegetation is not just therapeutic but also decreases depression because the social bacteria work as antidepressants. Being in a garden, handling the soil, and harvesting your crops releases dopamine, it takes you to a state of blessing.  

Gardening helps you to come in closer proximity to plants. Exposure to sunlight also induces the happiness chemical in the brain called serotonin. This happens because of an increase in Vitamin D. It builds a sense of belongingness by reestablishing your connection with nature.    


8. Reduces time on technology

There are no second thoughts on how technology has taken over our lives. In this fast-paced, technology-dominated urban lifestyle, gardening is a welcome break to get back to the roots. Apparently, people breathe deeper when they’re outside. Thus, gardening gives you the perfect opportunity to clear your lungs. 

benefits of gardening

With the constant bombarding of technology in your everyday life, gardening serves as the right escape from work worries and personal sorrows. It deviates your attention from the regular hustle and makes you feel good. Also, spending more time closer to the environment reduces heart rate and muscle tension. All of this impacts your overall health & wellness in a positive way. 


9. Encourages healthy eating

Gardening is a great activity to educate yourself and move towards healthy & organic eating. Growing your fruits & vegetables helps you to learn more about the benefits of eating organically produced food. My mom is looking forward to some fresh, ripe sweet lime from our garden this season. 

You might not be into eating healthy food but when you grow something in your backyard, it encourages you to eat it for all the hard work that goes into it. This way you learn to appreciate locally produced natural foods.


10. Evokes a sense of purpose

Along with all the benefits of gardening mentioned here, the final one is that it evokes a sense of worthiness in you. Not many people feel fulfilled with how they live their lives. Gardening establishes a sense of purpose because you perform the whole process and get to enjoy the results too. 

Gardening requires planning, problem-solving, and creativity, all of which can help to stimulate your brain and improve cognitive function. The process of choosing the plants, planting the seed, watering it every day, and seeing it grow in front of your eyes, instills a feeling of pride in being a nurturer. 



These are some of the most prominent benefits of gardening for your mental wellbeing. By now, you must know that gardening is not just another day-to-day activity. It is so much more than that.

So, next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try spending some time in your garden or a public park. Not only will it help to improve your mood, but it will also give you the satisfaction of watching your plants grow and thrive.

Gardening can give you a powerful reset effect to get you to feel better almost immediately. With minimal investment, it is a great way to indulge yourself in some personal time. It is specifically helpful if you are in the early stage of your mental wellbeing journey. 

Whether you have a balcony, a window, some hanging space in your home, or some great space like mine to have a proper backyard garden, you can start and enjoy the benefits of gardening for your mental health to the fullest.

It’s not that hard to find and experience happiness. It’s all around us. Sometimes, all you need is a simple boost to get yourself out of your comfort zone and start a new journey.

I hope all of this information was useful to you and the next time you step into a garden you’ll enjoy more and soak in all the goodness it has to offer you. 

Until next time, 

I’ll see you soon!