Horticultural therapy: ‘Gardening makes us feel renewed inside’

Why does coaxing seeds into growth or a fierce pruning session refresh the spirits so? In this article in The Daily Telegraph, Sue Stuart-Smith, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, examines the value of gardening as therapy:

“Most gardeners would prefer to be busy in the garden, rather than think about how tilling the soil and growing plants affects the mind. But as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, I cannot resist reflecting on these things. This is partly because of my own gardening experiences but also because there is a renewal of interest in horticultural therapy.

Recent research carried out by the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) showed that more than a third of people questioned (39 per cent) said that being in a garden makes them feel healthier, while 79 per cent believe that access to a garden is essential for quality of life. The survey coincides with the NGS Festival Weekend (June 7-8) when more than 350 gardens will be open, with proceeds to charity.

I turn to gardening as a way of calming my mind, a kind of decompressing after a hard week in the consulting room. The jangle of competing thoughts inside my head somehow clears and settles as the weed bucket fills up, and ideas that are barely formed take shape. A session in the garden can leave you feeling dead on your feet, but strangely renewed inside …”

Read more here.

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