Thursday, Jul 18, 2019 | Last Update : 05:42 PM IST

Gardening: Your therapy to combat depression

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARPITA HALDER
Published : Jun 24, 2019, 3:23 pm IST
Updated : Jun 24, 2019, 4:08 pm IST

Here are reasons why you should opt for gardening when in depression.

Gardening gives a sense of responsibility of nurturing plants and makes one feel connected to nature. (Photo: Representational/Pexels)
 Gardening gives a sense of responsibility of nurturing plants and makes one feel connected to nature. (Photo: Representational/Pexels)

In this fast-paced life, depression is quite common in contemporary times. A sense of loneliness and perpetual sadness engulfs you, making you feel void. According to psychologist Sarla Tolta, Pro Care, Wellness and Lifestyle Centre, Kolkata, “Depression and anxiety give obsessive negative thought patterns and you start to worry about unnecessary things.”  

While most people think of visiting doctors and therapist for curing depression, gardening is one of the safest and easiest ways to snap out of depression. After all, nature therapy is the best therapy!

Ecotherapy, which is also known as nature therapy has a balmy effect and can tranquilise the troubled minds. Research has shown that gardening can help in potentially reducing stress by distracting the negative thoughts and eventually calm the nervous system. Gardening acts as a recreational activity that sets the mind free. Even doctors are of the opinion that gardening can help elevate the situation for people with depression.

Sarla further states that exposure to soil, sunlight and nature stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that help to reduce anxiety and depression. Serotonin is a pleasure centre neurotransmitter, which is responsible for brain balance and overall well-being of a person. Serotonin is the hormone, which is responsible and controls happiness and pleasures.

Dr Namitha M Das, Senior Specialist Psychiatrist, Aster Medicity, Kochi, shares, “Gardening has been considered as a restorative activity that provides relief from mental fatigue. For people experiencing psychological distress, sensory contact with natural environment enables connection and communication in a safer and simpler level as they might be feeling difficult in meeting the demands of the rest of the world.”

Garden-based interventions can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, improve attention capacity and reduce stress levels. This is being evidenced by the reduce stress hormone level – cortisol in the blood samples of people who are into nature-based activities. Many times, gardening might improve social skills and social networking and could benefit in your sleep. It markedly reduces the risk of stress-related disease or cardiovascular disorders.

Dr Gopal Bhatia, Psychiatrist, Narayana Multispecialty Hospital shares that gardening reduces stress and releases happy hormones. It gives a sense of responsibility for nurturing plants and makes one feel connected to nature. Sometimes it can also help in boosting self-esteem. She suggests that if you think that you are going through depression, foremost consult a psychiatrist and share the issue with them. Ask all relevant questions about depression adhere to the management plans and indulge in yoga, gardening or any other form of exercise. Try to stay connected with your family and friends to catch up with your earlier routine.

The early signs of depression:

Low mood/pervasive sadness

Reduced interest in day to day activities

Inability to feel pressure in previously pleasurable activities

Easy fatigue and generalised tiredness almost every day

Sleep disturbances – difficulty in falling asleep/multiple awakening at night/early morning awakening/sometimes excessive sleepiness

Indecisiveness             

Reduced attention and concentration – might have memory issues, hence

Heightened emotional sensitivity, poor temperamental control

Feels guilty

Feels helpless and worthless

Suicidal thoughts

Tags: depression, anxiety, mental health