THINK WELL – Improve your mood with gardening

Spending time in the garden is a great way to take care of yourself.

Being outdoors and doing something constructive can work wonders for your mood. According to Professor Geoff Beattie, head of school and Dean of psychological sciences at the University of Manchester, being in a natural environment triggers emotional reactions that help to reduce stress.

“Even a view of nature can have a major restorative effect on how people feel and this natural view increased positive feelings in the patient, reduced the level of fear, held their interest and seemed to reduce their stressed thoughts, ” he explains.

Gardening is a great form of physical activity and like most exercise, it will leave you feeling good and energised. However, one of the great things about looking after your garden is the fact that you’re nurturing something and being productive.

“I think people should be trying to spend a bit of time every day because if you live in an urban environment it almost disconnects you from a natural pattern of life, ” Professor Beattie says.

Green space doesn’t overload the sensory system in the same way that urban environments do, so spending a little time in your garden each day can have a major impact on your overall well-being. A study carried out by Swedish scientist Ulrika Stigsdotter found that people who have access to a garden at work tend to be less stressed than those who spend all day cooped up in the office.

If you don’t have access to an outdoor area at home or work, then why not escape to the park during your lunch hour or spend half an hour reading the paper there at the end of the day. With everyone leading such busy lives, it’s important to stop and take in your surroundings every once in a while. Enjoying a coffee in the garden, pulling a few weeds out or taking your dog for a walk won’t make a massive difference to your schedule, but it could make a huge difference to your mental well-being.