Mental Health Benefits

Mental Health Benefits Associated With Gardening

1. Practicing Acceptance

Our suffering mainly has to do with us attempting to control the things in our life that we have no control over. When we start accepting where our control limits end and that life is unpredictable, easier it becomes to find peace. Gardening is one of the best ways to practice. Lamp’l once stated that each day is a reminder from Mother Nature that we are never in control, which he found very helpful as one of the self-described “control freaks”.

I started learning the practice of acceptance in my garden when my baby lettuces (the first ones) were just about ready for harvesting in mid-April. I was looking forward to spending time in our garden with my children, but when my daughters, aged 4 and 8 asked whether they could assist in harvesting my lettuces, I grew less enthusiastic. I had thoughts of them ruining the garden that I had carefully planted. I also thought they may break off the stems rather than the leaves.

Fortunately, I bought myself back to my senses, and let go of the fact that they might break something. I also realised that my “perfect garden” may land up becoming a very lonely space, which is nowhere near my idea of true perfection.

Acceptance anywhere including in your garden does not mean you are giving up. Rather it means focusing everything we can on what is in our control and releasing the rest. When it comes to gardening this will mean preparing an environment in the best possible way to accommodate your plants. Lamp’l also mentioned allowing Mother nature to take over from there. A garden (similar to your life) is in much bigger hands when you compare them to yours.

2. Move Beyond Perfectionism

If people often call you a perfectionist, you may already be aware of some of the costs relating to this label. When you want everything to be perfect all the time it can result in frustrations, missed opportunities and deadlines, and a burden on your relationships. It may even result in you giving up on things since your mentality may be focused on “why bother when it cannot be perfect?”.

When you start understanding that you don’t have that much control over everything, gardening can become an excellent treatment for perfectionism. Regardless of how intricately and carefully you have planned and executed your garden, countless factors that you cannot predict such as inclement weather, bug invasions, or hungry rodents could impact the outcome. I had a neighbour many years back that tended a stunning garden until the day that one of the neighbours sprayed a weed killer (on a windy day). The chemicals ended up damaging many of the vegetable plants that she was growing.

Pristine Gardens provides an ample supply when it comes to these types of “neutralisers for perfectionism”, as Lamp’l likes to call them. He is a self-confessed perfectionist and he also knows that pursuing perfection will waste your time, especially when it comes to a garden.

3. Develop A Growth Mindset

Not being able to create the perfect garden is actually something you should celebrate. Carol Dweck, a psychologist, developed a distinction between “growth” and “fixed” mindsets. With the “growth” mindset, we are under the impression that we are constantly learning. When things don’t pan out like we would have hoped, we can see it as one of the learning opportunities in our lives as opposed to a “failure”.

Lamp’l mentioned that he enjoys making mistakes since he now views it as an opportunity to discover something new. Through these mishaps, it becomes possible to understand what has happened and the reasons why, which gives you more confidence to relate this learning to anything new. So every mistake opens the opportunity for more growth and learning.

4. Connecting With Others

Not much can boost your well-being like great relationships, and spending time tending your garden provides lots of opportunities to form connections with others. Lamp’l has said that gardening offers the perfect opportunity to connect with a stranger, and to rapidly become friends since you probably have the hobby of gardening in common.