For Looks and For Health: How Your Garden Could Be Helping Your Brain

woman gardening

Gardening is good for more than the environment: it’s good for your mental health, too!
Image: Shutterstock

The benefits of having a home garden extend much farther than being merely aesthetically pleasing, as recent studies have found a connection between cognitive benefits and nature. If you’ve ever felt more at peace after visiting a garden, listening to the water move in a fountain or river, or walking through a forest, this instantaneous reaction might be linked to the natural stimulants you’ve recently immersed yourself in.

According to a recent study conducted by the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan, a correlation was found between improved cognitive abilities and being surrounded by nature. The research report, titled “The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting with Nature,” set out to compare the restorative effects on cognitive functioning present in an urban versus natural environment, testing subjects in both locations to determine how each one impacts cognitive abilities.

The study’s findings concluded that interacting with nature, such as walking through an arboretum, provides various cognitive benefits, including improved memory and focus. The report briefly explains its rationale and findings:

“Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost. Such a therapy has been known to philosophers, writers, and laypeople alike: interacting with nature. Many have suspected that nature can promote improved cognitive functioning and overall well-being, and these effects have recently been documented.”

girl watering plants

Gardening can improve memory and focus, alleviate stress, and more.

“The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting with Nature” found that subjects experienced improved cognitive function after interacting with a range of natural settings, such as simply looking at pictures of nature, which is all the more reason to spend time in your garden this summer. Taking the time to immerse yourself in nature will alleviate stress, and can even allow you to become more focused on important tasks.

Don’t have a garden where you live? Take a look at this list of some of the world’s most beautiful gardens from National Geographic.

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About Alex Holt

I am a local artist from Brooklyn, NY. I love art, design, books, photography, gardening and blogging.
This entry was posted in Community Gardens, Gardening news, Rooftop Gardens, School Gardens, Urban Farming and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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