Knock Out Your Stress: Plant Something!

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Spring is here!  And along with the sense of renewal the budding trees and buzzing bees bring, there is also a chance of increased stress, whether it’s due to planning the family vacation, increased work stress, or major life events like a graduation.  The good news is that Spring brings many easy opportunities for knocking-out your stress, whether it’s enjoying a stroll on the greenway or cooking a healthy meal with farm-fresh ingredients.

One of the best seasonal stress relievers you can engage in is gardening.  Gardening not only allows you to exert physical activity, which is great for reducing cortisol levels, but it also allows the gardener to take a mental break from their everyday demands and “lose themselves” in a rewarding sensory activity.

It’s not just the master gardeners that tout the health benefits of their favorite activity.  A group of scientists in the Netherlands conducted a study to measure the effect of gardening on stress.  After completing a stressful task, two groups of people were instructed to either read indoors or garden for 30 minutes. Afterward, the group that gardened reported being in a better mood than the reading group, and they also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

You may not have a green thumb, but this weekend why not challenge yourself to grow something?  Whether it’s a vegetable garden, herb garden, or even a window box for your balcony, get in touch with nature this weekend and reap the benefits to your physical and mental health!

1Harding, Anne.  “Why Gardening is Good for Your Health.” Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/07/08/why.gardening.good/index.html on May 1, 2014.