Research has found that spending just 30 minutes working in a garden can boost your self-esteem. The study carried out by Westminster and Essex universities questioned 270 gardeners and non-gardeners and had them describe their feelings before and after working in an allotment.
Participants who attended the allotment for just a short period of time once a week, had a similar improvement in self-esteem as those who attend more regularly for longer periods.
The results were of such significance that councils are expected to create more allotments, in order to keep the general population healthy and boost the UK economy.
Whether you are digging, planting flowers, pruning trees and shrubs, or watering the plants, here are eight ways that working in your garden will boost your self-esteem.
- Sense of achievement
Your self-esteem will be boosted when you see what you have achieved. Knowing that the plant, flowers, vegetables and bushes that fill your outdoor space were once a packet of seeds and due to your hard work and commitment they haven’t only grown and survived, but they are now thriving in your garden.
- Sense of purpose
If you have low self-esteem it could, in part, be down to feeling like you have a lack of purpose in your life. Gardening will give you that sense of purpose. If you leave the space it will become overgrown, plants will die and it will become a place that you want to shut away and not spend anytime in. If you tend to it regularly; feeding, watering, pruning and so on, the plants will grow and it will become a place you enjoy spending time in and showing off.
Gardening is calming and relaxing. It enables you to let go of anything that is bothering you, at the same time preparing you for a good night’s sleep that will in turn boost your self esteem as you wake up prepared for the day.
- Reduces Stress
When in the garden the task of cutting away at a tree or bush or digging at the soil will enable you to take your stress out on the job in hand, leaving you feeling less stressed when it is complete. This will have boosted your self-esteem as a result, when the things that were annoying you no longer seem significant.
- Improves mood
Gardening is a form of exercising, when we exercise levels of serotonin and dopamine, that make us feel good, rise and levels of cortisol, that make us feel stressed, are lowered.
- Reduces isolation
Feeling isolated and excluded can significantly lower your self-esteem. Gardening can be an extremely social hobby and will reduce those feelings of isolation; if it takes place in the local allotment you will meet like-minded people each day, when out in your garden you can spark up a conversation and get to know your neighbours and regular trips to the garden centre will enable you to meet and talk to other gardeners.
- Reduces feelings of depression
Spending time in your garden will dissolve tension, depression, anger and confusion – partly due to just being outside – breathing in fresh air, being in the sunshine and among nature.
- Feel fit and healthy
Gardening can help you to maintain a healthy weight and stay in good physical shape, as it involves walking, bending, stretching, reaching and lifting. When you feel fit and healthy, your mental state is better and therefore you feel better about yourself.