A new study suggests gardening can help ward off depression, boost life satisfaction and improve mental well-being.
If you’re prone to reaching for the chocolate and wine when you’re feeling down, head to your garden shed instead and lose yourself in a spot of gardening.
According to a recent survey by Gardener’s World, 90% of gardeners believe pruning, planting and harvesting in the comfort of their gardens and allotments improves their mood. Keen gardeners were also less likely to show signs associated with unhappiness and depression than non-gardeners.
The poll, which questioned 1,500 adults, revealed that 80% of those who regularly enjoyed a spot of gardening were satisfied with their lives, compared to just 65% of those who didn’t garden.
Gardener’s World editor Lucy Hall said they had long suspected that gardening makes people happy, but now their research suggests it’s true.
Lucy believes the happiness comes partly from the mindset gardeners develop.
“[It comes from] a natural optimism that no matter how bad the weather, there’s always next year. It’s also about passing the seed of knowledge and the pleasure it gives.”
The most popular hobby in the UK is computing and gaming, with a significant 52% of respondents naming it as their favourite pastime. However, it seems not everyone likes to be cooped up inside with their computers – gardening and hiking came in at joint second, showing that the great outdoors has yet to lose its appeal.
Overall, people who enjoy outdoor activities are the happiest with 78% of walkers and 75% of fishing fanatics saying they are satisfied with their lives.
Previous scientific research from various universities (particularly from the University of Essex) has found that people who engage with the outdoors and the environment tend to be healthier and happier than those who do not.
Gardening is a surprisingly physical activity – you use your muscles to crouch down, reach up high and stretch out to prune and trim shrubs. You also get an excellent dose of oxygen to get your heart pumping and your brain working better – which will make you feel more alert and hopefully happier too.
If you do struggle with unhappiness or depression, you might be interested in reading our page about Depression, which includes information on how to get help if needed.
View and comment on the original Daily Mail article.