How does your garden grow?

Many of us enjoy gardening - or at least enjoy sitting in the garden. But as I have discovered, you have to bring an attitude of slow to gardening or it can just add to your stress!

The first step is to relax and learn to enjoy the process - including things like weeding. It's about being in the moment and savouring the sensations rather than seeing gardening as another chore or simply as 'outdoor housework'.

Gardening with an attitude of slow is about learning to be aware of and learn to enjoy the seasons – when to plant things and when to harvest them

Not sure where to start? Why not have a go at growing your own food – even if that means starting with some herbs in pots on the windowsill.

There are loads of benefits to be had from gardening:

Gardening keeps you active and this can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other associated lifestyle diseases.

There are lots of simple stretches and squats you can do while gardening to improve your flexibility.

Letting your mind wander as you garden lets you get into a free-flowing day dreamy state that resets your brain and helps you to have more creative thoughts.

Getting out in the garden at the end of a busy day helps reduces your stress levels and mental fatigue. Take a moment to watch the sun go down while you casually pull out a few weeds.

We all benefit from time spent in nature. Mounting evidence shows that a number of health and behavioral problems, including anxiety and depression, are directly linked to the amount of time spent outside. For children, especially, this can constitute a state sometimes referred to as 'nature-deficit disorder'.

One study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that various physical activities—gardening among them—can cut your risk of Alzheimer’s by 50 percent.

Other research finds that horticulture therapy is very engaging for dementia patients and has a positive impact on their overall wellbeing.

One thing your learn when you try to grow your own veggies is that it can be quite tricky! It really helps you appreciate the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables that we can choose from.

The process of growing even a bit of you own food gives new insight into the troubles people in the past would have faced when their harvest failed.

It's great for kids to be involved in growing food. There is compelling evidence from overseas studies showing that food growing in schools builds life and employability skills, improves their health and well-being in relation to diet and nutrition, and helps support children achieve in subjects such as science.

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