Gardening offers an easy method for working through your stress and getting close to Mother Nature. This is why many therapists use gardening to help their clients with major life problems. So what is gardening therapy and what can it do for you?
Enjoyable Therapy Proven to Free Your Thoughts
Gardening proves very therapeutic, as it provides an enjoyable outdoor activity almost anyone can engage in. Whether the gardening involves raking leaves, mowing or digging in the dirt, you learn many things about yourself during this quiet reflective time. At the same time, you gain clear results in your productivity, reaching goals each day you put on the gardening gloves.
People have long used gardening for mental health benefit. This therapy first gained acclaim in the 1800s. Dr. Benjamin Rush, the father of American Psychiatry, used gardening for his patients’ benefit. During the 1940s and 1950s, therapists noted how gardening helped post-war veterans heal from their “shell shock” and other physical and mental health problems.
Gardening therapy, also called horticultural therapy, continues working well for people in mental health and addiction treatment. People with physical challenges, as well as mental ones like PTSD, depression and anxiety gain wellness through the therapy.
In 2012, National Public Radio presented a story about the value of gardening therapy to young people held in detention centers. There, gardening helped people using the therapy gain self-esteem and improve emotional wellness. Other programs note that planting and harvesting help you feel a sense of accomplishment, empowerment, and fulfillment. In gardening, you gain a calm, stable place where you can let your guard down.
How Gardening Therapy Works
In mental health and addiction treatment services, gardening therapy takes you close to nature. This is a bond you have not held in a long time, as someone isolating and engaging in substance abuse. In fact, few people in modern living slow down enough to enjoy their environment. But as humans we find ourselves drawn to natural vegetation for a sense of calm.
Gardening as an addiction therapy works both indoors and outside. The gardening activity works well, whether you engage with potted plants, garden vegetables or other greenery on a walk. Plants naturally bring mental health benefits of reduced stress, lower blood pressure and mood improvement.
The Journal of Health Psychology reported in 2010 that gardening relaxes people and provides better stress relief results than even sitting quietly and reading a book. Of course, there is something so soothing to being in a garden setting. You also feel fulfilled and accomplished when you nurture plants into good health.
Horticulture Therapy in Rehab Treatment
Horticultural therapy provides only one method of treatment among a full list of those you need in rehab for recovery. The Willows in Fairview, NC is a women’s treatment center recognizing the benefits of garden therapy, along with other key therapies and treatment methods. These methods and programs at The Willows include:
- Dual diagnosis
- Hiking, ropes course, horseback riding, and gardening
- Trauma therapy
- Service work and relationship building
- Acupuncture, meditation, and yoga
Many people without a green thumb assume they will never successfully nurture green, healthy plants. But in horticultural therapy, you work past your stress and fears to foster real growth, inside yourself and in your plants.
At The Willows, your treatment mixes 25 hours of clinical therapies each week with gardening therapy and other experiential programs. To learn more about this therapy and other methods of The Willows treatment for women, call The Willows now at 855.773.0614.