All Things Green Blog

Dig In and Unwind: The Therapeutic Power of… All Things Green!


4/27/20242 min read

I have always been convinced that being in the great outdoors surrounded by trees and plants with the earth at my feet has a positive impact on my mood and general well being. Now it seems there is scientific evidence to back this up. Gardening can offer a powerful combination of mindfulness, physical activity and a connection to this wonderful planet of ours all of which contribute to our positive mental and emotional human health.

I am sure you don’t need me to convince you, however here’s how getting your hands dirty in the soil can help:

Stress relief: studies have shown that gardening lowers cortisol levels, the stress hormone which can heighten anxiety and prepares your body for the ‘fight or flight’ response. The study below showed people who garden every day have reported well being scores 6.6% higher and stress levels 4.2% lower than people who don’t garden at all.

Emotional health: spending time outdoors can have a profound impact on mood and studies have even shown improved cognitive function. Often cited, the 2019 study below looked at the effects of gardening activities in people with an average age of 76.6 years and how 20 minutes of low-to-moderate gardening activity “significantly increased” levels of the brain nerve growth factors related to memory.,31%2C32%2C33%5D

Mindfulness: gardening requires focus and attention to detail meaning being present in the moment depending on the task at hand. This could be pulling weeds, the simple act of digging over a patch of soil or planting seeds. It offers respite from our often fast paced world and is a distraction from technology which so often interrupts our busy lives. As such this focused attention can enhance our ability to concentrate and improve our attention span.

Sense of achievement and growth: I find watching seeds sprout, grow and flourish is inherently rewarding. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and reminds me of the cycle of life, even better when I can cook using my own home-grown produce. In fact the following fascinating meta analysis (a study looking at analysing and combining results of similar studies) conducted in 2017 showed there is mounting evidence showing gardening activities has a significant positive impact on a wide range of health outcomes such as an increase in reported quality of life, a sense of community, an increase in physical activity levels and cognitive function amongst other things.

Social relations: gardening can be both a solitary or social activity. Community gardens offer the chance to connect with like-minded people, share knowledge and experiences and to make connections with other people. Find a local group to you by following this link:

Getting started: even a small balcony or windowsill can be a door to the therapeutic world of gardening. Start small - choose plants suited to your climate and experience level, and embrace the learning process.

So, put on your gardening gloves, step outside, and feel the earth beneath your feet. You might just discover a newfound sense of peace, purpose, and connection to the natural world!