Not unlike many postgraduate students in their early 20’s, I have anxiety and it is something that I take daily medication for. As much as my medication is helpful, it is also important that I make sure every aspect of my life is conducive to positive mental health. I meditate, practice mindfulness and have lots of hobbies that help me relax and maintain a good frame of mind. These include baking, knitting, reading and of course, gardening.
Gardening is something that for me (and of course, everyone is different) has been hugely useful in managing my negative thoughts. The initial act of planting a seed, followed by watering, re-planting an harvesting are slow and purposeful acts which I personally find deeply meditative. They help me to slow my mind down and process my thoughts better.
Once the seeds start to grow into seedling I find there is a great sense of pride and achievement. A whole new little life has been created all because of you and your actions. Not only that but this little living being is relying on you to provide it with water, sunlight and nutrients. Every time my mind is dwelling on all the things I ‘can’t’ do and all the reasons I’m a ‘rubbish’ person, I can look at my beautiful, thriving plants and remember that I can do things, and I am able to contribute to the world.
Once my plants have matured and started to produce edible fruits, vegetables and salads, then they will contribute to my maintaining a healthy diet which is so important for all aspects of health!
Gardening will not have the same mental health benefits to everyone, but it’s something that works for me and I know I couldn’t imagine life without my windowsills being my own tiny little gardens ever again!