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I would just like to say that, having suffered with anxiety for many years, gardening is my new found therapy. I have come to realise this in the past two years since buying our own home and garden. I love planting new plants and spending my time (and money!!) in garden centres, weeding, planning the garden layout,and generally pottering in the garden, listening to the birds and last week I found a toad by the rose bush. I was so excited!!!
I wish 'gardening' could be used as part of therapy in mental health care. I really feel it could make a difference, no matter how small.
Gardening is the best therapy for many ills.
Better than a packet of pills
I'm with you there lg Always feel much better after time spent outside.
Agree totally, gardening is so theraputic. Not just the physical action of gardening but the anticipation of seeing things grow and come to life, it's so rewarding Plus, it's a well known fact that fresh air does produce something (some hormone or other using the technical term) that actually does make you feel better. That's my excuse for being in the garden all day at weekend anyway
Agree that gardening, etc. can improve mental health.
I have been looking at volunteering with a well known support organisation that provides gardening as a comfort to,those with drug, alcohol, mental and emotional problems. It involves teaskills these skills as well.
If I have worries and concerns a while spent in the garden is comforting.
I have been looking at volunteering with a well known support organisation that provides gardening as a comfort to,those with drug, alcohol, mental and emotional problems. It involves teaching these skills as well.
My brother volunteers at an organisation that uses gardening as an activity to help adult individuals with learning and social interaction difficulties.
It provides people with a sense of purpose and the reward is seeing their efforts being sold to help with providing funds for the organisation, which in turn elevates their feeling of self worth.
On a personal level, I agree with all the above comments and this is my favourite time of year as everything is coming to life.
Hi, I have discussed my mental health issues on this site before. These are longstanding and eventually forced me to retire early from my job as a doctor.
Unfortunately I still take a shed load of pills, but the thing that my psychiatrist and therapists agree has made the most difference to me is gardening.
I think there are many reasons why it helps: exercise, a well known mood improver, fresh air and sunshine likewise, a connection with the soil, which is something that for thousands of years during our evolution has been important and, which has started to disappear. Finally an perhaps most importantly, seeing new life emerge and, being able to cope with, and even embrace death, seem to be hugely important.
With the encouragement of my therapist, I have been trying to write a book on how gardening may have a beneficial effect on mental illness. The provisional title of which is, Of Dahlias and Depression. Sadly I am finding it rather difficult to write. However writing it is proving therapeutic in its own right.
More power to your writing elbow Doc
I know that having a garden has proved more beneficial than anything else in the recovery of a dear dear friend after years of depression and anxiety - on a bad day just having somewhere green to sit and watch the birds on the feeders, and then to find a long awaited shoot sprouting; and on a good day to dig and weed and have a truly transformative influence on the sad little patch of inner-city dirt that it once was ..... it has brought her much happiness, increased her resilience and self confidence and enabled her to achieve her educational potential, become independent and has now found a lasting and fulfilling relationship.
And as for improving her problem-solving skills ......... wonderful
I agree that gardening is very good for those suffering limitations. Be them physical or psychological (or both). It gives you a sense of patience (waiting for seeds to grow) and responsibility that doesn't overwhelm you (because unlike the family - the plants don't care that the washing is stacking up or that there's no dinner prepared regardless of how YOU are feeling). It gives you better coping strategies to pace yourself while ensuring your to do list (even if its just cutting the lawn) get done.
(I also think that it does EVERYONE some good to step away from the computer screens and get some fresh air and gentle exercise.)
Verdun, I'm sure you would be brilliant with people with mental health issues; let us know if /when you decide to get involved with this organisation.
its also good for stress
I agree that it is good for stress and the weird thing is that whatever huge challenges I set myself gardening-wise, they never give me any stress.
Talking on the phone to a friend yesterday I told him that I had spent the previous day on my knees digging up claggy clay with a crow bar. He is about 10 years younger than I and he was amazed; gardening keeps you physically fit and I strongly believe that being healthy in your body can really help the health of your mind.
What is good for the heart is good for the brain.
Punkdoc, I seem to identify with you a little. Seem to be able to pull myself out of very lows by knowing that I am needed.
A bad period for me was made easier by writing a book about someone for someone too. Greatly therapeutic ESP when, 18 years later, that book was read and valued by the recipient. It was so important and so emotional for that person. Glad I had the vision to do that despite constant reservations/doubts when writing the book.
Its difficult to value one's own "worth" to determine things. Difficult too to accept things or events in life and to settle or accept them. But when I realise the devastation a bad choice would cause I keep going. Maybe the solution is not to inwardly examine too much
Couldn't agree more with what's already been said. A garden becomes a sanctuary if you feel stressed.
Verd - that book will always be treasured and it must give you a lot of comfort knowing that. That loss won't leave you or your family but finding a meaningful way of dealing with it is a huge part of the recovery. It's easy to suffer from 'analysis paralysis'.
I understand completely about the writing itself being therapy pd. Putting it all down on paper is very cathartic and somehow it gives your thoughts clarity, instead of them just going round in your head.
You can feel lonely in a room full of people - in a garden you're never lonely.
Verdun, one of the things that CBT has taught me is, too not spend time looking inwards, procrastinating, as this tends to cause a downward spiral; bad thoughts lead to more bad thoughts etc.
The idea is that we all do it, but depressed people tend to do it more and that therefore you should only allow yourself a fixed time period in a day when procrastination is allowed.
It might seem daft, but it is possible, with practice to limit this dangerous time. Now if I am aware I have been doing it for too long I, make a conscious effort to go and do something, even if it is just a walk around the garden, this will then trigger constructive thought.
I can relate to a lot of what is being said too and having had CBT can agree with Punk and totally relate to FG on the 'feeling lonely in a room full of people comment'. We also become very good at hiding it and even my husband didn't know about the dark place I was in. I write in a diary when I have negative thoughts or troubles, I don't think anyone but me will ever benefit from it. I would love to read your books Punk so please get writing when you feel able
In the garden you can be allowed to lose yourself in thoughts that take your mind away from problems with no interruptions and I love that.
Truly such fine and encouraging comments. Lets be honest. Down in the dumps, depression call it what you like. Hands up anyone who hasn't ben down this path. 'fibber' We all become victims at some time or other.
I remember when I was a traffic cop, recenty married etc. Stress entered my life. My GP at the time was an oldie wartime type, a police surgeon. He said to me once, and he really was the family doctor and friend. Mike, he said. All the pills under the sun will never cure your problem. You yourself hold the cure. Take up fishing. Even if you sit there all day and catch bugger all, you wil learn to relax, and to be patient, or, like your dad. Get a plot and grow things. These are two of the most natural ways of life. I think he had something there.
For those who have tried these methods, and obviously wish to help others. Kindness, tact, compassion and a deep love for fellow man has to be cultivated. Believe me. As in various cases of assisting mentally problemed persons. Great patience is called for. Very good thread IMO thank you.
Nicely said Mike