Have you ever thought that you’re not as happy as you should be in your life?
I’m sure you have. We all have at some point in our lives.
About a year ago that was me. Not that my life is hard, or that I have a lot to worry about, I have a pretty comfortable life. It was just me feeling stuck .Thinking too much about the past, worrying about the future, just not being thankful for the present. I decide it was time to take some steps to enhance my level of well-being. I started on my journey. I took to the World Wide Web and googled well-being. Here I found a number of new activities and practices that I could take up: meditation, singing, running, performing acts of kindness, mindfulness, yoga and so on. I do a lot of these now, but the one thing I was surprised with was that research had shown of all these activities the most effective thing you could do, according to research, is to take up gardening.
Gardening? No wonder I always felt so much better after a day of working in the yard. I should tell you first of all that I am not a gardener. I have no idea what the flowers in my flower beds are called, with the exception of the Hosta plant. Oh yes, and the impatiens flowers. All I know is that those plants in the back get nice purple flowers and the others in the corner get beautiful yellow ones. Yep, and that’s how I plant my flower beds.
I read in an article that in the UK, gardening has begun to be used as a therapy for individuals suffering from depression and anxiety. As an alternative to prescribing anti-depressants, doctors in a pilot study are signing patients up for 12 week gardening courses. The ‘Grozone’ project teaches patients basic horticultural skills and encourages them to grow their own plants, which they can take home afterwards.
ECOTHERAPHY! Sweet! I love it! I have always enjoyed being outdoors and soaking up the beauty of nature in general, a walk through the woods, sitting on the beach, stopping by a roadside park. I have used all of these to improve the symptoms of anxiety and to improve concentration and well-being.
So although I have been under the weather with a cold I decided to venture out to the flower gardens yesterday. It’s fall here so it’s time to cut back, transfer and weed the few gardens I do have. If you know me, you will know that I have been on a mindfulness journey and have become very wrapped up in practicing mindfulness because it is such a powerful tool that keeps me staying in the now. So as I was digging in the dirt I found myself absorbed in the digging, lost track of time and the restlessness and chattering of my mind just faded away. I felt alert, alive and my mental energy became more intensified.
I was in the moment! Concentrating on the beauty around me, free from the anxieties of the future.
So today I got lost in the gardens again. I have never devoted much time to the activity. But I’m beginning to think that I should start. Not only did it feel great to get out and do some physical activity it kept me focused and in the now, it gave me a sense of accomplishment too. I know I will have to wait until next summer for all my hard work to unfold but I also know once the snow melts and spring arrives and the first sign of bulbs pop through the ground I will be knee deep in my new ECOTHERAPHY.
And for now I will give thanks to mother nature for providing a day of sunshine. Cheers to another wonderful day outdoors.
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.