Bury Your Stress in the Garden

If the stresses of daily life are getting overwhelming, go out and garden.

At some point in everybody’s lives, they will feel overwhelmed by stress. It could be stress from upcoming exams, from work projects, or from life in general. No one is immune to stress. And different people deal with it in different ways. For example, I am someone so grossly unequipped to deal with even the smallest iota of stress that I could become a hot mess at any moment. I have so much stress that this is a common thought in my head:

If stress burned calories, i'd be a supermodel.

*sigh* if only…

But since we can’t be stress-powered supermodels (c’mon science, let’s get on this!), we need a better way to handle it. One fantastic way to deal with the pressures of life is gardening.

From a purely anecdotal perspective, I find gardening a very meditative activity. The only thing on my brain when I’m in the garden is being in the garden. Whether I’m pulling weeds or turning soil, all my focus is directed towards the current task. The argument I had at the grocery store earlier, or the upcoming work deadlines don’t seem all that important. Gardening gives me the opportunity to practice mindfulness and, in turn, clears my mind of whatever stress I’m feeling.

From a physiological perspective, gardening can be a pretty physical activity. And all that exercise is going to improve your mood and relieve some stress. While working up a sweat and loosening tense muscles, the physical exertion also causes the brain to release powerful chemicals called endorphins which are responsible for our feelings of pleasure. Like a gardening high!

Sun exposure and fresh air have been shown to boost mood and relieve stress

Sun exposure and fresh air have been shown to boost mood and relieve stress

Gardening also provides a reason to be out in nature which has been linked to many positive health benefits, such as reducing mental fatigue. Sunlight and fresh air play a large part in the mood boosting effect of nature. Sun exposure increases the brain’s release of the serotonin, a molecule that helps relay messages from one area of the brain to another. Serotonin levels are also affected by the amount of oxygen you inhale. It is commonly believed that serotonin contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.

If none of that convinces you, then maybe this will:

So, while we wait for science to figure out a way to make stress burn calories and make us all supermodels, get out there and garden!