Today marks the first day of Spring and for gardeners, we couldn’t be happier.
No wonder today is also the International Day of Happiness. In 2011, the UN General Assembly recognized happiness as a “fundamental human goal [that] promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples” and since 2013 we’ve celebrated the International Day of Happiness on March 20th.
As gardeners, we know that our plants make us happy, but do you know why? Here are 5 things that happen when we spend time with plants:
Working with plants is proven to promote feelings of comfort, soothing and relaxation. People are designed to be outdoors but now we spend most of our time indoors creating a disconnect between nature and ourselves. This can lead to Nature Deficiency Disorder and increased stress.
When working with plants, or even being around plants, blood pressure is reduced and people’s nerves are relaxed. Allowing them to be able to concentrate longer and heal faster from illnesses than if plants are absent.
Plants also help filter pollution out of the air. In fact, two mature trees can produce enough oxygen for a family of four. Indoors, having plants in the home, office or school, promote better health and fewer days absent from work or school.
Everyone knows they need to eat fresh fruit and vegetables but few consume the recommended daily amount. Eating healthy can be a challenge, especially when trying to get kids to eat their greens. People who grow their own food are more likely to eat larger quantities of vegetables over those who buy their food at the store.
Also, growing your own food give you control over the quality of your food. Brian Minter, owner of Minter Gardens in Chilliwack, talks about how certain varieties of vegetables have more nutritional value and antioxidants than other varieties in the same food group in a recent Vancouver Sun article. By growing your own veggies it allows you to control how much harmful pesticide residues touch your food and how much your food bill comes to.
Exercise in the garden
According to the Queen’s doctor, Sir Richard Thompson, the benefits of gardens to mental and physical health have been known for centuries. By encouraging people to become active, it helps reduce illnesses caused by inactivity while improving the environment.
As gardeners, we know how much work it takes to plant and maintain a garden. In fact, 30 minutes of exertion can burn 160 calories raking; 180 calories weeding; 200 calories digging; 240 calories using a push mower and 240+ shoveling.
When working with the earth, the bacteria in soil, Mycobaterium vaccae, helps trigger the release of serotonin in the brain. The increased serotonin levels acts as a natural anti-depressant and help strengthen the immune system, making you happy naturally.
Increase cognitive abilities
Gardening is known to help with overall brain health and there is some research that even suggests it can lower the risk of developing dementia. Alternatively, exposure to natural scenery and lush greenery can have positive results on children’s cognitive ability, and help them to achieve higher test scores.
To test the effects of gardening and green spaces on children’s cognitive abilities, a study out of Barcelona asked young students in Spain, Norway, and the United States to write four cognitive tests at three month intervals over a year. The students who were exposed to more greenery ended up improving more in their working memory and attentiveness by 5%.
Allows for adventure and imagination
Finally, spending time in the garden allows the mind to wander. Gardeners start to experience things that they wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise. From thinking creatively about garden layouts to exploring new insects; gardening frees the mind from every day and allows the gardener to experience life around them. Because of this, some may say that gardening actually allows them to be better in other aspects of their life.
So if you needed another excuse to get gardening, do it because it makes you happy.
Check out our interactive map to find local Garden Centres and Landscapers around BC! https://plantsomethingbc.ca/search-local/