You are not alone if you feel under pressure or depressed. Studies by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that nearly a fifth of the UK’s adults experience depression or anxiety, with women more likely to suffer from the conditions. There are many reasons why you can become depressed, with everyone susceptible to the illness. However, certain genetic variations can mean that some of us are more prone to the condition than others.
Some may be prescribed with anti-depressants by their doctor, but these don’t always have the intended effect. That’s where gardening comes into the equation. Reports suggest that nearly nine in 10 people who are in their gardens for six hours per week feel happier. But how – and why – is this the case? Here, with garden specialists and crocus bulbs suppliers, Suttons, we investigate:
Garden with your family
You may be drained of all your confidence if you suffer from depression. Gardening as a family can be a great way in which to socialise within your comfort zone. Most kids love the garden — and spending time with you — so by creating fun tasks to improve your garden, they will instinctively have fun which will help lift your spirits.
According to scientists, some soil is home to certain friendly bacteria that can work similarly to anti-depressants by boosting the immune system.
You can keep your mind and body active when you partake in gardening activities. Tasks such as digging, mowing and planting can keep you occupied for hours on end and always thinking, while being outdoors can increase serotonin in the brain. On top of this, the relaxing ambience provided by being outside can leave you feeling rejuvenated.
Psychotherapist and clinical director from Harley Therapy, Dr Sheri Jacobson, also believed that being outside with the benefits that being outside hold in combating depression. She is quoted in Huffington Post saying: “While I haven’t come across anyone claiming that gardening has single-handedly overcome their depression, as part of a wide set of tools, gardening can be beneficial in the battle against depression.
“Being in the outdoors in more natural surroundings can help lift our mood as it brings a sense of simplicity and tranquillity which is therapeutic for many people.”
Grow your own produce
It’s thought that you can reconnect to the planet if you grow your own produce. Not only this, but tending to your crops will provide enough light exercise — at your own pace — to boost your endorphin levels. With one of the primary causes of depression being a sense of feeling out of control, growing your own fruit and veg can help give back some of that power. It’s also thought that folate-rich foods, such as kale and spinach, can help lift your morale. So, what better way to boost yourself than growing it yourself?
The ‘pleasure chemical’ called dopamine can also be released and trigger a state of bliss when we grow our own crops. This release can be caused by sight, smell and actually plucking fruit, so be sure to plant as many different edible options as possible and get that dopamine flowing!
Plant scented flowers
It’s claimed by Japanese scientists that inhaling scents which are released by plants, including lavender can alter gene activity and in turn minimise stress or depression levels you may be feeling. Aromatherapy, for example, is used as a form of alternative medicine and relies on scents such as this. Other plants that are recommended for your garden include jasmine — its fragrance is supposed to help you sleep — and rosemary, which is said to improve air quality, memory function and banish anxiety.
Obviously, not everyone can easily get up and take part in gardening activities. However, with so many potential benefits, it’s clearly worth trying to get into this hobby. Remember though, you are not alone in your struggle, so be sure to talk to professionals and those closest to you if you are depressed. There are many people out there to discuss your feelings with.