Garden Healing Effects: Developing Self-Awareness Through Gardening

“I like gardening – it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.” ~ Alice Sebold

Studies suggest the benefits of gardening are numerous, both mentally and physically. In fact, gardening for health is certainly not a new concept. I believe that the immense need for relaxation and stress relief was one of the main reasons I became so enamored with growing my own food and a cut flower garden. Over time, exploring the boundaries of my garden and its healing effects have allowed for more self-awareness.

Finding Oneself in the Healing Garden

The term “healing garden” may have many different meanings depending on whom you ask. The creation of my own personal healing garden was certainly not intentional.

Throughout my first few gardening seasons I was, indeed, focused on gardening for health. However, that health was directly related to the nutritional benefits gained from organically grown produce in my own backyard. It wasn’t until I started mastering the basic garden skills that I began to notice working with plants had made a noticeable impact on my emotional state and mental wellness – in a positive way.

In a world filled with electronics, technology, and ever-increasing demands at the workplace, you, like me, may find it difficult to find time to truly relax. With a never-ending list of daily responsibilities, tasks such as weeding and pruning may be physically tiring. But, over time however, you, like me, may notice these will help clear your mind. Time spent in the garden, for me, became imperative just to process the day’s events and “reset.” It’s great to take a break from stressors related to daily life. The simple act of nurturing plants in the garden also allowed me to nurture an aspect of myself that desperately needed care and attention.

Beyond relieving tension related to a hectic work schedule, starting a garden allowed me to discover a few things about myself. Among these was the ability to connect with nature. In growing a garden, I quickly discovered that things would not be “perfect.” Weather, soil conditions, and many other factors greatly impact the health of my plants. Learning to accept, and even welcome, the things I could not control or change was a major step in accepting that same concept elsewhere in my life.

As my garden continues to expand, I can only imagine that it and my self-awareness through gardening will continue to help me grow into a more “grounded” person.

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