Research Found Gardening Helps Reduce Loneliness And Boosts Overall Wellbeing

Most of us who take part in gardening realize that it is a very relaxing hobby. We might even find ourselves outdoors more than we are indoors, just because we appreciate all that it brings to our lives.

The University of Essex is aware of this fact, and they even coined the phrase” green exercise” and speak about the benefits of spending time outdoors. Part of this type of exercise, which was first talked about in 2003, has to do with caring for the outdoors and using it as a method of healing.

Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

It seems as if therapeutic community gardening was of great benefit during the pandemic when many people were locked indoors and feeling lonely. A study on the subject, which was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, found that people’s well-being and satisfaction in life increased as they took part in the activity.

53 people took part in the study that was conducted by the University of Essex. The researchers tracked them from 2019 until 2022. Most of the people in the study had mental health issues when they first started and they regularly visited therapeutic community gardens that were put in place by Trust Links, a charity.

Since they took part in that activity during the pandemic, the results really show what is possible, thanks to that type of community activity. In order to come up with the results, the participants would self-report and score their feelings.

Photo: Pexels/Lisa Fotios

Across the UK, people were increasingly lonely and suffering from mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. Those who took part in the therapeutic community gardens, however, experienced a 9% increase in their satisfaction with life and well-being.

One of the researchers from the University of Essex, Dr. Carly Wood, said in a press release: “There is growing evidence to support the use of nature-based interventions for the treatment of mental ill-health and great potential to upscale the use of therapeutic community gardening through the Government and NHS’ Green Social Prescribing agenda.”

Photo: Pexels/.▃

She went on to speak about how the power of therapeutic community gardening could help some of the most vulnerable people in society today.

Matt King, the chief executive of Trust Links, also weighed in on the subject, saying: “Through this evaluation with the University of Essex it is clear that our Growing Together therapeutic community gardening projects have a powerful impact on mental health and wellbeing, improving connections with other people, providing positive activities, giving people’s lives meaning and hope, and enabling people to spend time outdoors with nature.”

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