shown that spending time outdoors is good for our bodies and our minds.
I'm sure you've experienced these benefits: After feeling stressed out or bored
indoors, you step outside and your spirits lift.
great way to spend time outdoors is to garden.
can improve many aspects of mental health, focus, concentration and Improves
mood. Gardening can make you feel more peaceful and content. Focusing your
attention on the immediate tasks and details of gardening can reduce negative
thoughts and feelings and can make you feel better in the moment.
research on gardening found it improved life satisfaction and mood. Digging in
the dirt really does lift your spirits. The digging stirs up microbes in the
soil. Inhaling these microbes can stimulate serotonin production, which can
make you feel relaxed and happier.
food for thought on gardening by Joe Lamp'l:
Practicing Acceptance - Most of our suffering comes from trying to control
things that we can't. The more we can accept the limits of our control and the
unpredictability of life, the more peace of mind we can find—and gardening is a
great way to practice. 'Every day is one more reminder from Mother Nature
that I'm not in control,' Lamp'l said, which he finds helpful as a
self-described "control freak."
Moving Beyond Perfectionism - If you're prone to perfectionism, you're probably
well aware of the costs. Trying to make things perfect can lead to frustration,
missed deadlines and opportunities, and strained relationships. It can also
lead to not even trying to do something, with a mentality of 'why bother
if it can't be perfect?'
Developing a Growth Mindset - The inability to garden perfectly is actually
cause for celebration. Psychologist Carol Dweck developed the distinction
between 'fixed' and 'growth' mindsets, and gardening is a
great opportunity to develop the latter. With a growth mindset, we assume that
we're constantly learning. When something doesn't work out the way we had
hoped, we view it as a learning opportunity rather than as a 'failure.'
Connecting with Others - Few things boost our well-being like good
relationships, and gardening offers ample opportunities to connect with others.
Lamp'l noted that 'gardening is one of the best ways to connect
strangers" and quickly become friends "because we have that gardening
thing in common.'
Connecting to Your World - Gardening provides a connection not just to other
people but to our world. Many people feel that connection in a visceral way
when they eat food they've just harvested. 'We all have an innate
connection to the earth,' said Lamp'l, 'and that connection manifests
itself when we consume what came from the ground—which is where we came from
and where we all end up.'
Bathing in Green - The Japanese expression 'shinrin-yoku' can be
translated as 'forest bathing,' which nicely captures the experience
of being immersed in green. A growing body of research has found all kinds of
benefits from being in natural landscapes.
Present - Mindful presence is tied to a long list of positive outcomes, like
relationship satisfaction and less emotional reactivity. The garden can be a
protected place where we practice being where we are and actually doing what
Physical Exercise - Moving your body regularly is an effective way to boost
mood and lower anxiety, and gardening offers 'no shortage of opportunities
for physical activity,' said Lamp'l. Even when he's not able to get to the
gym consistently, he maintains muscle tone and feels good through daily work in
Reducing Stress - Not surprisingly, time in your garden can be a great way to
release stress. There's something about feeling the life all around you, the
warmth of the sun, the soil in your hands. As I sit in my own garden these days
I see rainbow Swiss chard and lettuces shaking in the wind, blueberries,
blackberries, and strawberries ripening, and feel the breeze as clouds move
across the blue sky.
Eating Healthfully - Last but not least, a garden can yield the freshest and
healthiest foods available—the types of food that can have a significant impact
on our mental health. For example, two studies showed that dietary changes can
be an effective treatment for depression.
in this area tend to find benefits of the 'Mediterranean' (and similar)
diet, which emphasizes consuming minimally processed whole foods—exactly the
types of food that your garden will yield. Plus there's the added benefit of
knowing you played a role in growing the food.
start a garden of your own? Here are six quick tips that Lamp'l recommends for
start. Decide that you're going to get started, even though you don't know how
it's going to go or even exactly what you're doing. "Try it, and so what
if you fail?" asked Lamp'l. 'The worst that will happen is you'll
learn something. And that's worth the price of a plant, every time.'
slow. Lamp'l noted that it's easy to get excited when starting out and plant
too much, which ends up being hard to keep up with. As a result, you could end
up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. So get started, but don't overdo it.
You can always add to your garden over time. A simple first step is to grow
something in a container that you can put close to your house, so it's easy to
take care of and enjoy seeing every day.
healthy soil. Successful gardening starts literally from the ground up,
according to Lamp'l. 'Soil is life. When you focus on that, good things
happen.' He strongly advises gardeners to avoid synthetic chemicals and 'start feeding the soil with organic material.' That can include
compost, the 'single best thing you can add to the soil because there's so
much in it,' and anything else that nature provides, like shredded leaves,
shredded bark, or aged manure.
what you like. Choose fruits and vegetables to grow based on 'what you
want to eat or what you like looking at,' advised Lamp'l. 'Grow
something that's easy and that grows quickly, like a radish or lettuce.' The ease and quick reward will be motivation to stick with it.
your plants' needs. 'Learn something about the plant before you stick it
in the ground,' said Lamp'l. 'Read the plant tag so you know if it
likes sun or shade and wet or dry, and do your best to give it the environment
it wants to thrive in.' After all, plants can't move themselves, so it's
up to us to 'put the right plant in the right place.' Your plants
will reward you for it.
attention to your plants. Spend at least a little time in your garden every day
observing what's happening. That way you can ‘be proactive when problems arise
and can circumvent potentially bigger problems,' said Lamp'l. Besides, there's
really no downside to spending time in your garden, given all the benefits
is not only my ultimate refuge, but also inspiration for almost all the plant-based recipes that I develop or create. My culinary motto are
garden-to-table and farm-to-table. The immense joy that I experience when
planting and gardening herbs and veggies are simply indescribable.
garden or do some gardening this weekend!
Chef Ellie Lavender
Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor
Lavender Design + Cuisine
Join my network on Facebook & Instagram to receive Feng Shui & Interior Design tips and information on upcoming workshops & special events!
Copyright © 2022 Lavender Design + Cuisine, All rights reserved.