Gardening for Health and Happiness 

April 1, 2020 | by BMI Staff

As the weather is growing warmer, the itch to be outside might also be growing larger. If you are looking for a way to get more vitamin D in your life while also making a conscious decision to become a healthier, happier person, consider taking up gardening. Whether it is a simple hobby or a money-saving lifestyle, you will see the following benefits begin to take root in your life! 

#1: Family Bonding

Whether you have young children in the house or are empty-nesters, gardening can be an activity that brings your family together. Working with one’s hands is such a dated concept that used to be the means of a family’s survival. Strengthen those bonds by creating something that your family can enjoy together. For parents of young children, use the experience to teach your children how to grow something from nothing. Get them excited about watching the process unfold before them. Make sure to give them manageable tasks that will make their work feel important and meaningful. Gardening is also a great way to stay active during retirement, offering a bonding experience for empty-nester spouses. 

#2: Stress-Relief

Performing a task from start-to-finish provides a sense of accomplishment, significantly lowering levels of the stress-inducing chemical, cortisol. When stress becomes unmanageable, our bodies naturally produce an abundance of cortisol. This can cause a number of unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Additionally, outdoor activities of any kind will expose one to the positive effects of vitamin D, resulting in a brighter mood. The action of working with soil, however, might be the most compelling component of stress-relief, as it pertains to gardening. A healthy bacteria known as M. Vaccae lives in soil. This bacteria, when inhaled, naturally increases serotonin levels while simultaneously reducing anxiety. Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical that produces feelings of well-being and happiness. Simply by rooting around in your garden and interacting with this healthy bacteria, one becomes both calmer and happier as a result.

#3: Healthy Finances

Sell what you produce. Save money on groceries. The idea of saving money may not be the best motivator for starting a garden. It may take time to hone one’s skills well enough to see a significant decrease in the grocery bill. However, consider focusing your gardening efforts on the fruits and veggies you enjoy the most that also tend to cost the most on grocery-store shelves. If you are looking to experience all of the other positive impacts of gardening–in addition to saving a little money along the way–the best financial gain tends to come from growing herbs. A good starting point for inexperienced gardeners, herb gardens are much smaller and can even be maintained in pots on the balcony of an apartment. Fresh and jarred herbs can be quite expensive. Growing and drying your very own herbs will certainly save you money while providing a much fresher taste to all of your home-cooked meals. If you are interested in starting an herb garden, but are not quite sure where to begin, take a look at these tips for beginners. Once you become confident in your gardening skills, you can begin selling your produce to either friends or family, or at the local farmer’s market!