Do you reach for your gardening tools after a particularly long and stressful workweek? Does digging in the soil help you feel happy and relaxed? Have you found a great sense of fulfilment in watching the fruits of your labor thrive? If so, you may be experiencing the benefits of ecotherapy, also called nature therapy or green therapy.
What is ecotherapy?
Ecotherapy refers to the practice of spending time in nature to build a connection with our world and to reflect on our relationship with the earth and its systems. Developing a connection with nature has been known to be beneficial for our health and well-being for millennia, and extensive research shows that interactions with nature allow people to live longer and happier lives.
Spending time in nature helps children become more active, engaged, and connected to their community. Among both children and adults, nature therapy encourages higher self-esteem, improved moods and enthusiasm for learning, and makes you more resilient to stress. Researchers are even focusing on ecotherapy techniques for helping people manage the psychological turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting crises.
Why do people garden?
Chances are, most people aren’t familiar with the science of ecotherapy and they garden for other reasons. So why do people garden? People who love to garden cite the following reasons for their passion:
- Enhanced Creativity – Selecting the right crops for your climate and soil, arranging them in unique ways, and caring for them as they grow all provide endless options for creative thinking. It not only takes patience and persistence to establish a garden, but a creative mind to nurture your initial rush of inspiration until it yields results. This includes responding to unexpected hardships with resilience and trusting yourself to make the right choices during the process.
- Improved Concentration – Growing and maintaining a garden requires great care and attention to detail, meaning it involves a high degree of concentration. Whether you are planting, weeding, or harvesting, focusing your attention on the task before you allows you to truly disconnect from the distractions of everyday life and appreciate the beauty of the natural world.
- Pleasant Sensory Experiences – Gardening offers a number of interesting and delightful experiences that involve all of your senses. Watching plants grow can be a wondrous experience as you watch a seemingly magical progress happen right before your eyes. These rewards also extend beyond simple aesthetics, from the strain of your muscles as you work the soil, and the sound of bees and birds as they pollinate your crop, to the smell of a fresh bloom or the taste of a perfectly ripe berry.
- Greater Mindfulness – By using your senses to truly experience your surroundings and channeling your energy into the present task, you can genuinely connect with the world around you and focus your awareness on the present moment. Cultivating mindfulness helps you recognize, identify, and understand your own emotions and work through any worrisome thoughts that may be bothering you without allowing them to overwhelm you.
- A Sense of Accomplishment – The most frequently cited reason for why people love to garden is the sense of accomplishment they can gain from the hard work. Watching a seed sprout after planting it, providing life-sustaining water and sunlight, and harvesting the fruits of your labor are all incredibly fulfilling. If you’re growing vegetables, fruits, or other edible produce, this sense of accomplishment is further enhanced by sharing your crop with your loved ones and seeing the enjoyment on their faces as they dig in.
- Motivation to Exercise – We all know that exercise is important for improving your mood, concentration, sleep, and overall health, but the truly challenging part of committing to an exercise routine is simply motivating yourself to get out of the house and move around. Gardening encourages you to spend time outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while working your muscles, helping reduce anxiety and depression while giving you a gorgeous garden to show for your efforts.
Love to garden? Come see harvest today!
If you are interested in taking full advantage of the numerous benefits ecotherapy has to offer, contact Harvest by Hillwood in Northlake/Argyle, TX today. Our master-planned community is an agrihood tailor-made for those who value a farm-to-table lifestyle and want to grow their own fresh produce through sustainable and community-oriented methods. Take a virtual tour, come by for a visit, or contact Harvest today to see our new construction homes and to learn more about our award-winning community!