How Starting a Garden Will Empower Your Life

in #garden3 years ago

Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

We all experience the problems of living in the modern world, head to Google and type that in and you’ll find a barrage of familiar issues from depression and stress to poor diet, lack of physical fitness, lack of sleep, tech addiction, chronic stress, food security, unemployment, and climate change.

Whoa that’s a lot to deal with!

So how can starting a garden have anything to do with empowering your life?

Amazingly it can help improve all of these problems we have to deal with in our contemporary lives. A way to heal these ails, even just one, is empowering.

I know what you're thinking. “I don’t have the time (or maybe the space) for a garden.”

Do you have time for the gym? Do you have time to watch tv or scroll through facebook?

A garden does not need to take much time. (But it might if you become impassioned by it, they are addicting.)

And if it’s space you have a problem with, there are many different kinds of gardens, both balcony, window, and container gardens are all options.

But what do our modern problems have to do with gardens? Let’s take a look.

Photo by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash

Chronic Stress and Depression

Stats show that stress and depression are on the rise and studies point to all types of things from social media and technology to lack of connection and loss of community.

But studies are also being done on plants and the ways they can improve our psychological health including lowering our blood pressure. A meta-analysis on gardening health benefits says, “Studies reported a wide range of health outcomes, such as reductions in depression, anxiety, and body mass index, as well as increases in life satisfaction, quality of life, and sense of community.” If that doesn’t peek your interest, please continue…

Photo by Christopher Williams on Unsplash

Poor Diet

It’s too easy to stop by and grab fast food when we’re in a hurry or to grab quick to cook processed foods because they’re cheap and easy. We all know we eat too much sugar and eating that “healthy diet” can be a challenge.

And even if we skim the produce aisle, ethical dilemmas confront us. Do we want to support monocropped veggies? Do we choose organic?

Having your own garden comes to the rescue again. Growing your own food is a way to improve that diet. I’ve personally found that growing veggies I hadn’t eaten a ton of before improved my knowledge of how to cook with them and widened my pallet. Along with that I can vouch for the flavor being above and beyond in your freshly picked veggies over your store bought ones.

An article from the National Institute of Health agrees that starting a garden can improve your diet and hence your health, “research has shown that eating fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet can reduce your risk for long-term diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.”

Photo by Daniele D'Andreti on Unsplash

Lack of Physical Fitness

We sit inside at our computers far longer than we’ve ever found ourselves inactive in the past. I don’t think you need statistics to see that. It’s easy to see in my own life.

But again bring in a garden and you have a built in gym.

The American Heart Association even deems it a moderate intensity aerobic activity. It requires you to move, to dig, to lift, to squat, to carry water, to rake, and if you have a big enough garden maybe even to run. Whatever kind of garden you have, it requires you to get out of your seat, take your eyes off the screen and be active.

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Lack of Sleep

That activity, that digging in the garden, or going out to water or mow or pull weeds, being physically tired at the end of the day instead of just mentally tired.

That is what we are missing. That’s why we can’t sleep. At the end of a long day in the garden I can’t wait to lay down in bed and I’m off, no sheep counting required.

The National Sleep Foundation says that chronic insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. And while studies are limited there is good evidence that, “moderate-intensity aerobic exercise reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep of people with chronic insomnia.” That sounds promising to me.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Tech addiction

Another problem of our modern world and it can once again be solved by starting a garden.

A garden needs you.

It needs you to take your eyes away from the screen and tend to it. It needs you to get those swiping fingers muddy and wet. A garden brings you outside, makes your eyes open to natural light, and keeps you away from the computer for a while.

In my life it helps me find balance between being here writing with you and being outside with nature and the birds and the bees and the earthworms too.

And it’s being used by multiple rehab centers as an activity to combat technology addictions, Pacific Quest a wilderness therapy program and reSTART another rehab center specifically aimed toward tech addiction both have organic gardens for their guests.

Photo by Steve Knutson on Unsplash

Unemployment and Financial troubles

Poverty, low incomes, unemployment, debt and other financial issues plague a huge portion of our population (the US and the world) this leads to lack of food accessibility.

Growing a garden can help create accessibility to food for lower income communities and is being done by many nonprofits starting up in “food deserts” around the country. The Growhaus in Denver is one such garden.

But how can growing a garden help improve your financial troubles?

Growing your own food and taking a little burden off your grocery bill is one step to relieving financial pressures but what about growing extra food? Many cities now allow cottage food industries which means small gardens can provide an income opportunity for the right person.

And gardens don’t have to only be for fruits and vegetables, flower gardens, herb gardens, garden’s grown to produce seeds, or even growing plants to sell themselves, these are all potential avenues to bring in a side hustle.

Photo by Steve Knutson on Unsplash

Well Being

The UK’s Department of Health states that positive well being can, “help people achieve their potential, realise their ambitions, cope with adversity, work productively and contribute to their community and society.”

Who doesn’t want well being? Watching a garden grow and thrive, having something to take care of, the physical activity, and even just being in a green environment can increase feelings of well being says an extensive research article titled, “The Benefits of Gardening and Food Growth for Health and Well-Being.”

And my own experience matches this research.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Climate Change

With everyone talking about climate change these days it can be hard to pinpoint what we can do as individuals to curb it.

Giving up our cars or our phones or our latte’s is probably not in the cards for most of us but starting a garden? That can make a difference.

From helping pollinators by growing flowers, to sequestering carbon by repairing the soil or planting bunching grasses and trees, providing food for wildlife, increasing biodiversity and native species, and even simply composting, a garden can be your way to do a little something for old Mother Earth.

No matter what issue or issues pester your life, starting a garden can be a cure, a remedy for the problems of our times.

Getting back to the earth might seem a little hippie but research points to positive truths in the old adage.

So will you do anything to heal your depression? Maybe you know you need more exercise, a better diet, more sleep or don’t want to admit to that tech addiction or your financial troubles. We all need and want well being and doing your share for the earth is always a plus right?

So what do you say, wanna start some seeds?

(This post can also be found on Medium)

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As someone who has been living on the countryside my entire life, where me and my family always had a garden, I can say that I 100% agree with all the statements above.

I noticed that my diet and movement are at the lowest and screen time at the highest during the winter time but as soon as spring comes with more sunshine and garden prep starts, it's a lot more different.

Resteemed in hopes more people will read this post! :)

Totally agree with the winter and spring dichotomy but wish I’d grown up in the country, I’m a suburb baby, lots of concrete growing up.
Thanks for the resteem!

There seem to be an issue with Steemit and after I unvoted your post to re-vote it higher it didn't let me revote. So I'm voting this comment :-)

Cool post.
Definitely a life changer, especially, if you feel like you're drowning, in whatever it is, that you're drowning in.

Tech addiction: Years ago I had shared a garden with another person. She brought her cellphone out there and would spend about 1/2 of her time on the phone. Leave the phone in the house!

I don't have a cellphone so if I want photos, I bring my camera out with me.

Geez, thankfully I’ve not seen too much of the phone in the garden dilemma but that sounds like an addict to me!
Just got a camera myself, much better pictures than the cell phone!

I loved my gardens. Grew so many different types of greens. But living in a van, it's hard to grow your own anything, lol. When spring time comes I am going to try to grow some sprouts in jars and such. Would love to some day get a trailer and set up a microgreens setup... It's already designed

When my husband and I lived in our van for a year we hopped between Woofing situations and were able to help out in the fields for free food and a place to park. It was a good way to stay in touch with it.

I could lose myself in the garden, if only I didn't have to run The household too.

@tipu curate

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