A home garden can be your private window to nature, acting as a balm to your stress and your senses. It’s no surprise that garden therapy is moving into the spotlight as a therapeutic technique for physical, psychological and emotional healing and wellbeing. Anupriya Singh, HR Specialist at ThoughtWorks also believes that “therapeutic gardens can do wonders as they are good for physical, emotional and mental health”. It holds a universal appeal, offering value to a wide spectrum of people – from overworked professionals to victims of mental health conditions; from young children to the elderly.

For Upasna Monappa, who is HR at KellyOCG, gardening is an art that makes you happy and healthy. She says digging and weeding are great exercise, and regular contact with plants and natural environment add to her holistic wellbeing. She also believes that engaging with activities like gardening is a fabulous antidote to the stresses of modern life.

In India, more and more living room corners, balcony railings and kitchen countertops are turning into bespoke garden displays. Here are five reasons why.

  1. Sense of Serenity

Gardening can cloak you in a spirit of calm. And there’s a scientific reason why. Fresh air and the physical motions of sowing, seeding and potting can help reduce cortisol – the hormone triggered by stress – and invigorate the body by pumping oxygen and releasing endorphins into the bloodstream. Research shows that the presence of a garden can have a positive effect on blood pressure, lower anxiety, improved digestion and soothing the mind. In a study that compared indoor reading to outdoor gardening, people were tasked with a stress-inducing activity and immediately separated into the two activities. Results showed that those who were assigned gardening had lower cortisol in their saliva, and better moods. While reading also helped reduce cortisol, gardening had a deeper impact on stress relief.

  1. Dirt Stimulates the Mind

Combing through dirt may not be your idea of fun but turns out it’s an excellent antidote for stress. Studies have found a direct link between soil bacteria and brain behavior, with such bacteria serving to stimulate serotonin – the happiness molecule.

  1. Focus and Concentration

When you’re gardening, you’re channeling your energy and attention into a single seed, pot or sapling. You’re in the moment, you’re focused, and you’re all in. This feeling can be likened to meditation and can elicit a similar sense of mental wellbeing. Interestingly, a study by Johns Hopkins University found that meditation demonstrated the same efficacy as antidepressants in treating anxiety and depression.

  1. Connect to Nature

Whether or not you have a green thumb, spending time in a natural setting can be a surefire mood-lifter. Not only can it fill your system with new sights and scents, but it can also give you a new perspective, away from the daily contemplations of home or office. A 2014 study conducted by the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University, England, followed 1,900 participants of England’s Walking for Health program, which organized about 3,000 nature walks every week. Scientists noted that after three months, participants who had walked at least once a week showed a happier disposition and less stress.

  1. Homegrown Organics

Organic produce is coveted for its pesticide-free, all-natural properties (studies show that organic food contains more nutrients than its synthesized counterparts). But it’s also usually twice as expensive as regular produce. Growing your veggies can be a rewarding experience, not just for its therapeutic value, but also for its health benefits. Also, this way, you can build a heightened sense of consciousness in you and your family in knowing where your food comes from, and how it is cultivated. Consider beetroots, spinach, tomatoes, and lemons for your garden patch. They’re perfect for the Indian climate and easy to grow too!

It doesn’t take much to grow a garden, and you certainly don’t need a spacious plot to indulge your green fingers. Arrange planters in your balcony, display pots in your kitchen or turn a living room corner into a pocket of verdure. However small or big your patch, the health benefits will be just the same.

Founded in 2013, OurHealthMate (OHM) is a health-tech startup. Their award-winning services are rooted in a three-pronged service strategy: Care Planning, Business Intelligence, and Quality Execution. OHM offers alternate employee engagement solution and Garden Therapy – “Terrace/Balcony Gardening” is one of them.

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