Gardening for Mental Health: Tending outer and inner relationships
This programme is a workshop that engages the living natural world to foster adaptability, develop balanced listening and relating skills, and support a sense of empowerment for making better choices and intentions.
Planned as either a half or full-day experience, participants are guided to give attention to their senses and thereby engage their entire body as they tend to plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs. This might include placings one’s hands in the soil to plant seedlings, thin new sprouts, or divide mature plants to keep them healthy and strong. Direct contact between one’s skin and the soil affects the microbiome (the cellular level of organisms) of both the plants and ourselves. There will also be opportunities for learning how to prune trees or shrubs, how and when to cut back roses, and what sorts of easy organic practices enable a healthy robust garden.
By consciously giving attention to the world around us, chemicals are released in our brain making us feel not only less stressed but also providing a sense of connection and contentment. For example, when we listen and orient ourselves to birdsong, we develop new neural pathways that make us better able to internally adjust and manage our outer reactions to social situations.