How Does Gardening Help Manage Anxiety?

It’s no secret that our mental and physical health share a profound relationship with nature. Gardening is among the best ways to connect with nature. By nurturing a garden, you’ll be nurturing your overall well-being, which will inevitably reduce anxiety. Many may be skeptical about how gardening can help them manage their anxiety, and that’s understandable. 

However, there are a lot of unorthodox methods for treating anxiety and mental illness in general. So, why can’t that include gardening? Continue reading to learn more about how gardening helps manage anxiety. If you or someone you love is struggling to manage anxiety, consider reaching out to Sokya Health. Our virtual platform offers treatment, coaching, and other paths to wellness that we can help you on today.

What You Need to Know About Anxiety

MedlinePlus defines anxiety as “fear, dread, and uneasiness.” It’s normal for us to experience these feelings from time to time. However, when these feelings become debilitating and prevent you from functioning in your daily life, they become a more serious problem. This fear becomes overwhelming and hard to control. Medline defines anxiety disorder as conditions where people “have anxiety that does not go away and can worsen over time.” Those symptoms interfere with everyday activities and even relationships.

They define three main types of anxiety disorders. Those include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

    . People suffering from GAD worry about everyday problems like work, finances, and other responsibilities. These worries become uncontrollable, and to be diagnosed, individuals must experience these worries for at least six months. 

  • Panic disorder causes panic attacks

    . They come on quickly and frequently and cause people to become severely fearful even though there are no evident dangers. Many physical symptoms often accompany panic attacks. These symptoms are so strong and intense that they can be confused with a heart attack. 

  • Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder

    . People experience irrational fear of something. Some are fear of spiders, flying, closed spaces, or in the case of those with social anxiety, a fear of being in social situations.

It’s important to understand these definitions and associated symptoms. You may begin to notice these signs in yourself or in your loved one. If you do, consider discussing any concerns with your healthcare provider. They can work with you to create a plan of treatment. Anxiety disorders can cause a severe decline in your overall quality of life. Don’t let yourself suffer. Instead, choose the path to wellness.

The Dangers of Untreated Anxiety

If untreated, anxiety can cause many long-term problems. You may even begin to develop more severe mental disorders. Depression frequently develops as a result of anxiety or vice versa. If both are untreated, people risk developing substance use disorder (SUD). Individuals turn to self-medication to cope with their symptoms of anxiety. Together with depression, the risk of substance abuse increases even more. Additionally, individuals suffering from these co-occurring disorders are also at a greater risk of suicide.

Mental and Physical Ailments 

In addition to these co-occurring mental disorders, untreated anxiety also causes several adverse physical effects. Many who suffer from anxiety will develop chronic stress, which can compromise the immune system, cause physical pain to the body, and result in insomnia. 

Research indicates that anxiety can wear down the body mentally and physically. Some develop heart disease, experience weight gain, or significant memory loss. Seeking treatment for anxiety is not just important for mental health. It’s essential for overall physical well-being too.

Treatment and Gardening

There are many traditional and nontraditional ways people manage their anxiety. The most traditional method is psychotherapy, or talk therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common method of talk therapy. Through CBT, clients learn alternative ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting concerning anxiety. 

Medications, support groups, and other stress management techniques are frequently used together with CBT. Some stress management techniques may seem more unorthodox than others, but gardening is a great way to manage anxiety.

Gardening Affects the Mind and Body

According to the peer-review medical journal Clinical Medicine, gardening positively affects both the mind and body. The article states that it “combines physical activity with social interaction and exposure to nature and sunlight,” which can “lower blood pressure” and increase “vitamin D levels.” Therefore, gardening improves mental health as well. 

In addition to exercise, gardening:

  • Improves mood

  • Encourages peace

  • Reduces negative thoughts 

  • Improves self-esteem

All of these aid in the management of stress and anxiety. Gardening offers people a task to focus their concentration and energy on. So, if you feel you’re at a loss with ways to manage your anxiety, consider taking up gardening.

An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition where people respond to certain situations with intense fear. Untreated anxiety leads to other co-occurring disorders like depression or substance use and causes adverse physical effects on the body. At SokyaHealth, we believe in an integrated approach to care. Treatment often requires therapy, medication, and conventional and holistic stress management techniques. One stress management technique that has proven to be effective is gardening. Gardening offers a healthy amount of physical activity and improves overall mental health. In particular, gardening improves mood, increases feelings of peace, reduces negative thoughts, and improves self-esteem. If anxiety interferes with you or a loved one’s everyday life, then the time to get help is now. Understanding the root of anxiety and how to manage it is key. To learn more about our online treatment programs, reach out to  SokyaHealth today by calling 800-930-0803 and (866) 65-SOKYA.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

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