A growing body of research is finding that regular exposure to trees and nature can help people recover from illness, and lead to better mental and physical health. Most gardeners will tell you that their landscape is their “happy place”, and that gardening is a stress reducer and mood lifter. But what are the health benefits of spending time in the garden?
Natural environments are restorative. Going outside, or simply looking out the window at a garden promotes a sense of calmness and well-being in people. Trees are especially beneficial. Healers in Japan and Germany have long recommended walking in the woods as a cost-effective remedy to the stressors of modern life. Healing gardens have become popular in the United States as well. Patients recover more quickly when they enjoy a view of green space. People who are exposed to trees and nature have lower blood pressure, lower pulse rates, and lower cortisol levels, all signs of reduced stress. It makes sense, as humankind has most of its history living in natural environments. Those living in areas with more trees experience less asthma, reduced hospital visits during heat waves, and improved mental health.
Vitamin D is necessary for growth and is especially important for normal growth and development and bones and teeth in children. It enhances immunity, and there is a direct relationship between vitamin D in avoiding inflammation and respiratory viruses. An easy way to get vitamin D is a few minutes of sun exposure because the sun’s ultraviolet rays are converted to vitamin D in the body.
There is also a natural antidepressant in soil. Mycobacterium vaccae is a bacterium in garden soil that stimulates serotonin production, making people feel relaxed and happier. This bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant and does not cause disease. Lack of serotonin in people is linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar problems.
All this scientific evidence is not a surprise to many of us who have experienced the phenomenon of feeling great after spending time in the garden. Blessing Landscapes is an expert in creating beautiful gardens and restorative outdoor living spaces. If that is something you would like, contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our landscape professionals.