When an individual is challenged both mentally and physically, he strives to become better and pushes against his self-created boundaries. By regaining diminished self-esteem, the yearning for self-improvement becomes dominant. This allows the individual to break free of the mental shackles that confine him. Self-improvement can be nurtured and achieved in a number of environments including your own personal spaces such as your yard or garden. So let’s take a look at the self-improvement payoff that comes from spending time in your garden.
As the American culture becomes more obsessed with technology and increasingly deprived of interaction with nature, it is critical to acknowledge the various mental and physical health benefits associated with spending time in your own garden. The US public spends in excess of 90% of their time indoors leading a very socially-disconnected and sedentary lifestyle. As much as 65% of US parents are concerned about the time their children spend outdoors. An average pre-schooler spends 12 hours a week outside. But a 16-year old only spends 7 hours a week in nature and an adult often as little as 2 hours.
One of the most noticeable benefits of spending time in your garden is that it is stress relieving. Gardening leads to an increase in serotonin and dopamine production which boosts our happiness. Cortisol levels, which makes us feel stressed, are also lowered while engaging in gardening or simply spending time outdoors. Whether you are digging up soil, raking leaves, spreading fertilizer or sowing seeds, time spent in the garden will allow you to not only vent your frustration but relieve your stress as well. The peacefulness of your garden will furthermore help you feel relaxed. This results in a decreased risk of unhappiness and depression, both factors that can hinder the process of self-improvement.
Direct contact with nature, fresh air and a Vitamin D boost will all contribute to a relaxed and calm feeling. Studies prove that being surrounded by nature, even in an urban garden, boosts your sense of well-being significantly. Gardening provides an individual with a purpose and something to focus the mind on. This distracts it from negative thoughts and worries. You experience a genuine sense of achievement from gardening, whether you are harvesting vegetables or fruit or completing a landscaping project.
It encourages us to live spontaneously
Anxiety gets worse when an individual places too much emphasis on the past or worries too much about the future. Being around the ever-changing cycle of nature helps us appreciate every day and focus on the ‘here and now’. Spending time in the garden allows us to feel more in tune with the seasonal changes as the garden develops with each passing week. Birds, butterflies and other insects come and go and different plants flower at different times. The beauty of a newly blooming rosebud negates the stress of an impending deadline at work.
When you improve yourself you become a role model to others and help them achieve more in their own lives. Self-improvement and self-fulfillment are a lot easier to achieve than most people can imagine. Keep challenging yourself without becoming overwhelmed and you will soon be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.