Gardening and being one with nature provides numerous health benefits and positive feelings, which contribute to a healthy state of well-being. Being one with nature gives you a safe, peaceful environment where you can relax and quiet your mind, as previously noted. Here Minda Zetlin, contributor @mindazetlin, reflects on the hobby of gardening adding years of life for the world's longest living people:
“Twelve years ago, Dan Buettner visited communities around the world known for having many centenarians (people who live to be 100 or older), including Okinawa in Japan, the Barbagia region of Sardinia and the Seventh Day Adventist enclave in California.
Buettner, an author and longevity expert, called these areas “Blue Zones.” He and his team of researchers wanted to find similarities among the residents that lead to a longer, happier and healthier life.
Some are things you might expect, like a mostly plant-based diet, a strong social support group and moderate exercise. But there is one surprising commonality: In each community, residents garden well into old age.
That’s no coincidence, as there’s plenty of research to prove that gardening increases well-being and longevity.
Why gardening can help you live longer
1. It gets you into nature
Exposure to sunlight, fresh air and plant life all have health benefits. In fact, doctors in Scotland prescribe “nature walks” for high blood pressure and anxiety. They also encourage patients to interact with the surroundings, whether that means bird-watching or collecting twigs.
In a famous 1984 study, environmental researcher Roger Ulrich found that patients who had their gallbladders removed recovered faster — and with less pain medication — if their hospital rooms looked out on nature rather than a brick wall.
Nature is restorative, he noted, because “we have a kind of biologically prepared disposition to respond favorably to nature because we evolved in nature. It was good to us, and we tend to respond positively to environments that were favorable to us.”
If being around nature is good for you, then being consistent about it is even better, which is something that gardening pretty much forces you to do. You may try to jog every day in the park, but then blow it off for a few weeks when your schedule gets too busy. If you stop tending to a garden midway, however, you’re liable to see all your hard work go to waste as weeds take over everything.”
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