Gardening Is Becoming A Good Habit For Mental Health
Biophilia is a condition where humans exhibit their instinctual need to be close to nature. Some of the biophilic designs people opt for nowadays include growing houseplants, rooftop or balcony gardens, and preserving natural light to enter their living spaces. Essentially, the more interaction with nature, the more prosperous our mental health would be. Planting the seeds of our choice, tending to the plants, observing their progress, and reaping the harvest is a joy in itself. It is referred to as 'therapeutic horticulture ' where growing plants and gardening improve our mental health. It is more of a personal journey both for the plant and for the 'plant mom/dad' as the gardeners like to call themselves. They attach themselves to this journey and sometimes become sad when a plant dies or does not grows as they expect it to. Hence, they don't shy away from spending time researching about it and finding new ways to save them.
People find the process of gardening interesting, refreshing, and enthralling.
The researchers from the University of Florida mentioned that women aged 26 to 49 who garden or attend gardening classes have reduced stress, and are devoid of the risk of anxiety or depression compared to those who don't themselves in nature-related activities. Gardening comes in handy who is agitated all the time and finds it difficult to walk through their phases of life. Healthy individuals can also benefit from gardening by sustaining their good health and improving their mood. The study examined conditions such as substance abuse, use of medications, and health conditions. The groups were split into making art and gardening, and at the end of 4 weeks, their mental health has been compared and studied.
Gardening focused on sowing seeds, transplanting, harvesting and tasting.
The researchers employed different scales of measurement to assess the stability in mood, stress level, anxiety, and depression. The study showed that gardeners presented improved mental health than art makers, and further study in this area could help determine the duration, the link between biophilia and mental health, the interest shown by people, and the innate changes happening to them, etc.
Farmers learn about the growing market needs and adapt to them as they change.
Some of the techniques like vertical gardening are new to the traditional farmers, hence an attempt was made by the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, BHU, to introduce and train them on the concept. The conference explained the products that would grow well using this technique such as palak and lauki, how to tend to them, and the use of bio-fertilizers. They are rich in micronutrients and boost immunity. The key points discussed enables farmers to not panic about the growing market needs and adapt to them as they change. Hence, learning more adaptable techniques calms them down and gives them the mental bandwidth to incorporate them into their kitchen gardens and fields.
Urban residents prefer adaptable spaces that can be converted into a garden of their choice
Not everyone could afford outdoor space and a dedicated garden, yet they are keen on growing plants. Research supports the theory that during the pandemic, a lot of those who suffered from conditions such as reduced brain function, weakened immune system, claustrophobia and depression found comfort in spending time in their gardens as other outdoor visits are restricted and threatened.
In cities, sustainable urban farming such as rooftop gardening is gaining popularity among those who don't have enough space for gardens. People living in apartments also indulge themselves in house plants or maintaining a small garden on their balconies. A lot of them picked up gardening during the lockdown to calm their nerves and give themselves a sense of responsibility. Vegetables, fruits, flowers, and greens can be easily cultivated in an urban garden. Cooking from fresh produce also gives them healthier choices. As people are becoming worried about their health concerns, they are leaning more towards chemical-free and safe fruits and vegetables.
Therapeutic horticulture, the new-age technique to tackle mental health concerns
Urban farmers are also interested in horticulture and keen to be trained in the techniques. The green space, however small it might be, provides an escape for several urban residents who are stressed due to their personal and professional commitments. This also acts as a savior for many retirees who want to spend their time productively.
Spending one hour in the morning and evening daily gives a healthy exposure to sunlight which is otherwise restricted to digital screens. This helps in synchronizing the circadian rhythms which naturally reduces the risk of irritability, mood fluctuations, attention, and concentration deficits. This also could help cardio-vascular and obese patients.