What is a gardener?
A person whose hobby or job is growing flowers in a garden is called a gardener. If you grow vegetables professionally, you’re called a farmer, but if you design, tend, or care for a flower garden, you’re a gardener.
Chinese proverb: ‘If you want to be happy for a day, get drunk; for a month, get married; for life, be a gardener.’
How does gardening make you happier?
Does gardening leave you feeling happy and relaxed? Do you sometimes have an urge to grab a fist full of soil? Does watering plants give you great, unexplainable joy? Your brain might be telling you something! Gardening is actually an effective way of improving your physical and psychological wellbeing. With all the digging, lifting, pruning, weeding, watering, harvesting, planting, raking, transplanting, and moving, it’s clear how gardening can have many physical benefits. But research shows that these benefits can also extend to our minds as well!
In Japan, there’s a growing trend called “forest bathing” where people immerse themselves in the outdoors as a way to refresh, unwind, and boost concentration.
Why has this caught on? Because it’s effective!
Studies have shown that forest bathing forces people to disconnect from distractions and be more mindful of their immediate surroundings. This can also happen while gardening. If you’ve ever weeded a garden bed, you’ll know that it requires a high degree of focus in order to identify unwanted plants. By noticing the smallest details, you’re also improving your concentration.
Another important aspect of gardening is getting your hands dirty and research shows that this can improve your mental wellbeing. Scientists have discovered that the mycobacterium
found in soil can improve brain functions while boosting moods. The mycobacterium vaccae found in the soil increases serotonin produced in the brain (also known as the “happy”
chemical). By getting your hands dirty, you’re also making your brain happy!
There’s also the sentimental attachment to your garden. Gardening takes effort and because of this, a natural responsibility for the survival of your plants starts to take bloom within you. Sometimes you see them from seed to blossoming shrub. Other times you forget to water them and they die. Regardless, caring for something other than yourself can be gratifying and purposeful. No fruit or vegetables ever taste better than those you’ve grown with your own hands.
Many doctors now prescribe gardening as therapy for some patients who suffer with depression. Gardening is medicine that does not need a prescription, and has no limit on dosage!
For many people, a garden is associated with happy family memories.
So, what is it about gardening that makes you happy?