Learn 5 Benefits of Gardening for Your Mental and Emotional Health

Planting a tree or watering flowers are gardening tasks that can bring amazing benefits to your mental health. Here's how they help.
Learn 5 Benefits of Gardening for Your Mental and Emotional Health

Last update: 09 December, 2023

Nature never ceases to be kind and give back everything it receives from man. Proof of this are the benefits that gardening offers our mental and emotional health. Fertilizing a plant, watering rose bushes, and planting seeds, for example, are all tasks that benefit your psychological well-being.

Carrying out outdoor activities, including gardening, are associated with distraction, relaxation, and even creativity. There’s a lot of research on this. In this article, we’ll tell you all about the benefits of gardening for your health and well-being.

Gardening is an activity that supports mental and emotional health

Life often takes us in a race against the clock, so sometimes it’s necessary to disconnect from the daily hustle and bustle and give yourself a break. To do this, it isn’t mandatory to plan a walk or a trip; by taking some tools and going out to the garden, you gain benefits that the mind and body deserve.

There are studies that highlight this.

In a paper on the emotional effects of plants on humans, the Journal of Environmental Horticulture pointed out, among others, the following psychological advantages:

  • Improved memory
  • Greater happiness and satisfaction
  • A reduction in the effects of dementia
  • Mitigation of post-traumatic stress disorder

Another analysis, developed by Clinical Medicine refers to the implementation of therapeutic gardens in hospitals as an ideal alternative to improve patient’s well-being. They note that more and more evidence supports the exposure and contact with the “green environment” for general well-being.

What gardening tasks have benefits for mental and emotional health?

According to the British Psychological Society, incorporating gardening into our lives involves from very simple to more laborious tasks. You can grow sensory herbs, such as basil or mint, and avocado seeds, in the form of houseplants, using what’s left over of these spices in the kitchen.

The truth is that you don’t need a huge plot of land to take advantage of the benefits of gardening for mental and emotional health. Planting in small pots or sprouting in cans are models of tasks that occupy your thoughts and take your mind off your routine for a while.

Experts add that planting, weeding, and watering in larger gardens is another way to distract the mind.

We think you may be interested in reading this, too: Spring is Here! Plant These 8 Bulbs in Your Garden to Fill it with Life and Color

These are the 5 main benefits that gardening brings to your mental and emotional health

Although the benefits that gardening brings to the mind and emotions are not new, they were more noticeable after the confinement that originated the COVID-19 pandemic. During that trance, many people found this art tremendously therapeutic. They gained a sense of control and security while growing their own food.

This is according to a report from the University of California, presented by the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The report covered several cities in the United States, Germany, and Australia. The gardeners surveyed also expressed a sense of joy, freedom, and connection with nature.

1. Gardening improves your attention

The Ellison Chair in International Floriculture says that tasks performed under the calming influence of nature are performed with greater precision. Also, being outdoors strengthens memory performance and attention span.

For its part, a study in the Science, Technology, and Innovation Magazine refers to green areas as mental restorers that help improve academic performance. In its analysis, it was concluded that environments with ornamental vegetation give a sense of well-being and, consequently, students take better attitudes, favoring the teaching-learning process.

In other words, being near or in a garden is favorable for improving your attention. A fact that can be extrapolated from the academic environment to the gardening task in favor of psychological well-being.

2. It nourishes self-esteem

Planting a plant and contemplating its growth process is a great achievement. And whenever we achieve a goal, it nurtures a sense of pride and boosts self-esteem.

Why is this?

This is a project to which you dedicated time, patience, and a lot of responsibility. In other words, it’s a source of pride to grow a plant and watch it thrive.

A similar scenario is posited by the University of Florida: if a child plants and nurtures a seed until it sprouts, he or she will feel that he or she has done magic. Likewise, young people feel a sense of success when they harvest the food they will eat or when what they planted blooms. This helps increase their self-confidence and self-esteem.

3. Gardening promotes creativity

Says the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine that gardening enhances creativity and inspiration, which is beneficial to the mental well-being of those who garden. In particular, they talk about home gardens and the ability to personalize them, providing a license to express oneself and reflect passions, values, and preferences through gardening.

4. It strengthens your social relationships

The concept of community gardens has become popular. These spaces are considered “spheres of sociability” by the scientist Glover. In a paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the author highlights the social connections that are built during the shared act of gardening.

The author argues that, along with other social, operational, and spacial maintenance activities, gardening encourages participants to share. Thus, the concept of community is reinforced.

5. It helps reduce stress and anxiety

As you focus attention on immediate gardening tasks, you minimize the negative burden that can overwhelm you. The fresh air, touching the earth, and feeling the sun are comforting in the face of stressful situations.

A controlled trial published in The Lancet Planetary Health reviews that community gardening is a way to improve stress and anxiety. At the same time, it promotes habits supported by nature, which results in an active and healthy life. The same work talks about the influence of these trades in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Avoid These 7 Gardening Mistakes and Make Your Plants Bloom in Spring

There’s more: Gardening is also beneficial for your physical well-being

In addition to nourishing the mind and bringing emotions to a positive scenario, dedicating time to gardening is beneficial for your physical health. If going to the gym or playing sports is not an option, you may find that your garden is an opportunity to stay in shape.

The State University of New Jersey argues that when you grow your own food, you get low-to-moderate intensity exercise. By digging, raking, or lifting pots, you move your upper and lower body.

They add that you also increase flexibility, strengthen your joints, and your hands work better. More physical benefits of gardening? Check out the following:

  • Improved bone density
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Strengthened leg and back muscles

Remember: Gardening is therapeutic, but isn’t a substitute for psychological counseling by itself

While spending time gardening has a positive impact on mental health, by itself, it isn’t a substitute for the care of a psychologist. There are associated professional disciplines, such as horticultural therapy, discussed in an article in the magazine Personal Autonomy.

These types of methods can only be guided by specialists.

That said, gardening can be complementary therapy or a hobby. If you experience anxiety, depression, and emotional discomfort in a persistent way, it’s a good idea to see a professional. On the other hand, if you find your garden provides you with the opportunity to escape for a few minutes from the daily hustle and bustle, then take advantage of it and relax.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.