Feb 24, 2012
Planting the Seeds for Better Mental HealthBy Tim Hodson

We’ve always known that gardening is a healthy hobby. Gardeners can get plenty of fresh air and exercise to help maintain their physical health while getting their hands dirty and beautifying their backyards.But gardening is also good for one’s mental health too.

Over the years, scientists have learned that gardening is a relaxing activity that can help calm the nerves. Experts have found that gardening can reduce the amount of cortisol a person has. Cortisol is a hormone that at increased levels will increase a person’s stress.

Now experts are trying to find out if gardening can be used as therapy to actually treat mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

According to an article in the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture, a study done last year at a juvenile rehabilitation center in Ohio found that kids in the gardening program had a higher self-esteem and could manage their emotional and behavioral problems better. And most of the kids in the program said they would continue to garden after they left the program.

So spread the word. Let others know that growing healthy plants can help grow healthy minds also!

You can learn more about horticulture therapy by visiting the American Horticultural Therapy Association’s website.

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Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]

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