Stress and Gardening

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

man meditating with gardening tools

Gardens have so many benefits that we often forget about some of them. For me one of the biggest benefits of gardening, and a reason why I am so hooked, is the amazing feeling it gives me: Stress relieving.  I have one garden in pots at home, I have a plot in the community garden, and I help take care of the Sustainability Centre’s teaching plot. I am actually looking into planting at my friend’s house and my mom’s yard, plus I spend time helping some other friends with their gardens. Anyways, I just cannot get enough of gardening.  And I am not the only one talking about the stress relieving benefits.

“A recent study in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities. 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.” (,,20507878_2,00.html)

“Days and days spent indoors and at the workplace prevent us from getting in touch with nature, thus we tend to have limited means to appreciate everything that’s grand and beautiful in life.” (

Not only is garden is beautiful in that it has the ability of reconnecting us with nature, but it also gives us something to care about... something that gives a lot back to you. Your garden will never talk back to you or be mean to you. Yes it might not produce the way you want too, but that is just part of the learning curve. 

Ps: gardening is not as hard as they make it to be. It is about a process of trial and error. And like my mom always told me, for your garden just follow your gut feelings. And I would add that if that isn't working... double check online; there is so much help. 

Back to stress relief stuff. Taking some time out of your day to be in a quiet space, playing with the ground, water your plants, helps you reconnect, stay energized, and some even say it is an excellent form of exercise (they must be talking about the shoveling and weeding). Seeing how nature works and getting vitamin D from the sun are also ways to feel connected and I believe it is therefore less stressful. And in the end you get fresh yummy produce. So if you do not want to garden for sustenance or environmental reasons, be selfish and garden for yourself, your mental and physical health.

Things to look forward to if you do not have gardening space,
  • contact the University of Ottawa for a plot:, the fall/winter season is just starting. You still got time for herbs, greens, beets and carrots. (Certain crops can yield a bit of frost)
  • Indoors gardening space fall/winter 212 with Sustainable Development SFUO and Campus Office
  • Mobile plots and reclaiming of other campus space into garden in spring 2013

~ christine - sustainability coordinator (SFUO)
photo credit - jonathan rausseo

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