As we seek optimal wellness, we are all trying to find ways to be happier and increase our mood.
Several studies and extensive research have delved into how exercise, whole-food diets, and social interactions increase happiness. Still, there is an expected culprit that scientists finally dug up - gardening.
A recent Princeton study in Landscape and Urban Planning examined the incredible effects of gardening¹. The study examined 370 Twin City residents’ emotional well-being through different activities, including walking, eating out, biking, shopping, and gardening. While it’s difficult to know who gardens at home and for exactly how long, one-third of participants reported gardening at home for an average of 90 minutes per week.
In addition to the overarching community benefits of gardening, gardening has specific benefits on emotional well-being. In the study, gardening (vegetable gardening more than ornamental) associates with high emotional well-being, similar to walking and biking. Women and low-income participants reported more increased emotional well-being from gardening than the medium to high-income participants. Lastly, gardening at home provided the same benefits for emotional well-being as gardening with the company.
As the paper states, “household vegetable gardening should be considered amongst other livability investments, such as biking and walking infrastructure, in cities.” While often overlooked as a route to happiness, gardening provides several emotional and logistical benefits, especially for city residents.
Gardening is an ancient practice ingrained in our history as a species, and it is one activity we often forget the powerful benefits it has. For those looking for healthy new activities to engage their minds and bodies, gardening is certainly something to try.
(1) Ambrose, G; Das, K; Fan, Y; Ramaswami, A (June 2020) Is gardening associated with greater happiness of urban residents? A multi-activity, dynamic assessment in the Twin-Cities region, USA