You might run in fear if you hear the word “gardening” and already know you don’t have a green thumb. However, this hobby is one that is easier than people assume, and it comes with several mental health benefits. As explained by researchers from Texas A&M, gardening and working with plants, in general, can decrease depression, boost self-esteem, and reduce stress. Additionally, it may be particularly helpful for those managing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or attention deficit disorder.
“Gardening is an excellent activity for practicing mindfulness, which is beneficial to overall well-being,” said Miquela Smith, who works at Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension program. “The ability to use our hands, coupled with being outside, makes it less likely to be distracted by phones or other technology. This helps you focus and distract your mind from those things that would worry you.”
If you’re interested in gardening as a hobby, you can begin by thinking of what you want to grow — do you want to grow plants you can eat or just a variety of beautiful flowers? Then, you can start to look into factors that will impact the plants, such as your local climate and soil. Because gardening is an ongoing activity (plants need regular maintenance and care), it’s one hobby you can benefit from over an extended period of time.