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Studies says Gardening can improve Mental Health

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Jul 11, 2022 1:05 PM

Read Time: 2 minute

According to new research, even if you've never gardened before, you can reap mental health benefits from working with plants. University of Florida researchers discovered that gardening activities reduced stress, anxiety, and depression in healthy women who attended twice-weekly gardening classes.

"Past studies have shown that gardening can help improve the mental health of people who have existing medical conditions or challenges," said one of the study's participants.

"Our research shows that healthy people can benefit from gardening in terms of mental well-being," said Charles Guy, the study's principal investigator and emeritus professor in the UF/IFAS environmental horticulture department.

Study done on included 32 women

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the environmental horticulture department, the UF College of Medicine, the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, and the UF Wilmot Botanical Gardens co-authored the study, which also hosted all of the study treatment sessions. The study included 32 women ranging in age from 26 to 49.

All were in good health, which meant that they had been screened for factors like chronic health conditions, tobacco use and drug abuse, and having been prescribed medications for anxiety or depression. 
Gardening sessions were assigned to half of the participants, while art sessions were assigned to the other half. Both groups met twice a week for eight weeks.

What participants learn in gardening session

Participants in the gardening sessions learned how to compare and sow seeds, transplant various types of plants, and harvest and taste edible plants. Participants in the art classes learned techniques such as papermaking, printmaking, drawing, and collage.

Participants completed a battery of tests to assess their anxiety, depression, stress, and mood. The researchers discovered that both the gardening and art making groups improved their mental health over time, with gardeners reporting slightly less anxiety than art makers.

The concept of using gardening to promote better health and well-being, known as therapeutic horticulture, dates back to the nineteenth century.

We may be innately drawn to plants as a species because we rely on them for food, shelter, and other means of survival. Whatever the deeper reasons, the researchers noted that many of the study participants left the experiment with a newly discovered passion. "At the end of the experiment, many of the participants were saying not only how much they enjoyed the sessions, but also how they 
planned to continue gardening," Guy explained.

Also Read: Are you feeling mentally exhausted? Use these ways to get rid off

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