Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Gardening great for mental health'

Kate (8) and Lucy Maher (5) from Kilkenny at the Despicable Me 3 Garden at Bloom. Picture: Collins
Kate (8) and Lucy Maher (5) from Kilkenny at the Despicable Me 3 Garden at Bloom. Picture: Collins

Not only is gardening a great way to stay active, but it can also improve your mental health, it has been claimed.

Bord Bia recently carried out a survey which revealed 75pc of all adults believe gardening is good for mental health.

Gardening not only benefits muscles, bones and organs but actually releases endorphins which help to alleviate stress and its side effects.

Sensible sun exposure, breathing fresh air, and even the colour green - the "healing colour" - are all beneficial.

St Patrick's Mental Health Services has been running regular gardening groups since 2016 and believes that gardening is a valuable tool in the recovery process.

Edel Fortune, programme manager at the hospital, told the Irish Independent there are many direct and indirect ways in which gardening can promote positive mental health.

"The act of gardening can help us in the practice of mindfulness by being aware of our surroundings and focusing on the task at hand rather than on other things in our lives that may be troubling us," she said.

"Gardening can help us feel less anxious. The act of growing plants, fruit and vegetables can help with mild to moderate depression by increasing our sense of satisfaction and giving us a sense of ownership.

"One of the major factors that contributes to poor mental health is poor sleep and lack of routine.

"Gardening and being outdoors can help us have a more restful night's sleep and promotes good sleeping habits."

Irish Independent

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