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Try Gardening When You Are So Over Stress

A great deal of our everyday ailments can be attributed to stress. Chest pains, upset stomach, low sex drive, fatigue, headaches, pain or tension in your muscles, and problems sleeping can all come back to an excess of stress in your life. This isn’t all of it either.

Stress can leave you feeling bitter, anxious, overwhelmed, restless, sad and depressed. It can also kill your motivation. Stress drives some folks into unhealthy behaviors like eating too much or too little, seeking solace in drugs or alcohol, withdrawing from social circles, and not getting enough exercise. In short, stress is not our friend.

As much as we are about saving money and fiscal responsibility here at So Over This, some things in life are more important than money. Your health is one of them. If you think about it, if your health suffers so will your earning potential. So it does come full circle back to the bottom line.

Gardening can help

There are a great many ways you can relieve your stress. Exercise and meditation are a couple activities that can definitely help. Interestingly enough this is where gardening can help because it is a little bit of both.

A group of scientists in the Netherlands conducted a study of two different groups of people and had them complete a task that elevates stress. When they were done, one group was show to a room to read while the other was taken to a garden to work for a half an hour.

It turns out the gardening group members were not only in a better mood after they were finished, their levels of cortisol, the hormone involved with stress, were much lower than those who were reading. Gardening was more successful at reducing stress than a leisurely activity like reading.

Physical benefits

Gardening may not give you the high-impact aerobic exercise that is great for stress, yet the continual movements that working in a garden requires offer a variety of low-impact strength and stretching exercises. Imagine walking around the perimeter of your land with your electric weed eater and adding steps to your tracker. Or relocating heavy pots around the yard and the movements that raking leaves requires.

The physical actions involved in gardening are pretty obvious, so it stands to reason that you will get the benefits of these exercises. And odds are you will stick to it longer than an exercise routine that doesn’t offer any other reward than the exercise. When you garden you are active in planting a pretty flower or growing a delicious tomato for you lunch, which also leads to non-physical rewards.

Mental benefits

Our mental health is as important as our physical health. When we are unhappy due to a lack of sleep or interacting with a demanding boss, these all add stress to our lives. We need to take care of our mental states by giving our minds a moment away from it all.

A vacation for your brain in your garden is the perfect remedy for dementia as well as excessive stress. According to CNN, two studies were conducted where participants in their 60s and 70s were observed for longer than 15 years on the effects of gardening on the brain. Those who gardened lessened their risk of developing dementia by nearly 50%.

In Norway, they studied the results of gardening on those who suffer from bipolar II disorder, depression, or persistent low mood. These participants found that a short stint of gardening greatly improved their attitudes.

Nutritional benefits

When you grow vegetables in your own garden, they are free of all the pesticides that might cover your store bought squash. They are as fresh as you will ever get as well. Not only that, folks who garden eat more fruits and vegetables because they are readily available.

The benefits of a colorful diet is well known. Healthy eating leads to a healthy life, which can greatly reduce stress.

Where do we start?

Growing a green thumb, even if you are a complete novice, isn’t difficult at all. There are a myriad of books and articles in every corner of the internet on the subject. We suggest the first step be deciding what type of garden you want by looking at others.

Your neighbors will be the best source of inspiration since the internet has photos from everywhere in the world. Your area has a certain climate that can sustain some vegetation but not others. Do your homework, make a plan, and execute your ideas the best you can.

Gardening is a learning process and a practice, not something to be mastered overnight. Before you know it, your stress will be a distant memory.


  1. Gardening is amazing for the mind and body! Being physically active in any way is a great stress reliever. And there really is something to be said for the satisfaction of growing plants and reaping a harvest. 🙂

  2. This sounds crazy, but I heard talking to plants while gardening is also a great form of DIY stress therapy.

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