"Gardens for Stress Relief."
By Debbie Mandel
It seems like we are always living on high stress
alert whether triggered by environmental or self-induced pressures.
By now we have read enough articles to know that stress is the
root of all evil. It saps the joy right out of our lives. However,
we possess the ability to restore our natural bio-rhythms. Gardening
or strolling in a garden is a great natural stress reliever. While
stress plays havoc physiologically, even depleting our bones,
research shows that gardeners do not suffer from osteoporosis
because of weight bearing activities like digging, raking, squatting
to plant shrubs, lifting bags of soil, or pushing a lawnmower.
Because gardening is a beloved hobby, gardeners lose track of
time and therefore do not age while immersed in their passion!
In addition, gardening lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk
of heart attack and stroke. We spend our lives wishing to return
to the Garden of Eden in the afterlife; yet the Garden of Eden
is here on earth… Here are seven tips for detoxifying in
- A visit to a garden, your own, your friend’s or a
formal botanical park, will infuse your spirit and your body
with serenity. A garden is a place where great changes occur.
Plant life does not seem to move in a garden, but there is
constant movement and renewal. Similarly, we can make small
changes, one step at a time. We can do so without the pressure
of time, at a slower, more natural pace.
- Plant life knows how to let go of the past. A plant dies
in the winter and regenerates in the spring with no past consciousness—just
a fresh new life growing towards the sun. If we learn to let
go of resentment, anger and negativity, we make room for abundance
in our lives. Like a tree, we grow towards the light.
- A garden provides a wonderful setting for meditation. Hard
work and dreams combine to teach us to bring out the best
in ourselves. The universe’s handwriting is found in
every garden: it is up to us to read the messages. Meditation
helps us to get in touch with the still point within. When
we meditate, we watch our worries float by without judgment.
We become receptive to inspiration as nature permeates our
- Everything growing in the earth began at the seed level.
We heal from the seed level as well – from the inside
out. If our thinking and spirit are balanced and positive,
we stay healthy or heal quickly. In order to heal dis-ease,
we need to approach it from underground, the internal spiritual
and emotional causes for stress-induced illnesses.
- Gardening complements a comprehensive fitness program.
Exercise sheds harmful stress hormones, raises endorphins
and helps us think more clearly. Walking, stretching, finger
dexterity, balance, strength, isometric positions and core
stability are experienced in gardening. In other words, contraction,
expansion, elongation and rest, all necessary building blocks
for a sound mind in a sound body, parallel the components
of plant life.
- Simplify your existence and clean out the clutter. Zen
philosophy teaches that all of nature is housed in a flower.
When you appreciate a flower with your five senses, being
fully present in your awareness - not worrying about children,
parents or co-workers, then you are fully in the moment and
stress-free. Appreciating the little things in life provide
the key to happiness.
- Adjust your bio-rhythms to nature to release stress. Technology
has enabled us to work all hours of the night in unnatural
light. However, if we let nature be our guide, the way gardeners
do, we would honor the darkness and rest. In fall and winter,
the days are shorter, so we wind down at night and get more
sleep. The trees lose their leaves, telling us to simplify
and organize. In winter we contract and take stock of ourselves.
In spring there is a different vibrational energy as we spring
into action, teeming with activity, enjoying increased daylight.
Summer makes us hot and lazy and we wind down to take those
long weekends away from work. When we visit a garden during
the four seasons, we appreciate the changes and absorb the
corresponding mindsets. Remember human nature got its start
in a garden.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness
for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational
speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton
College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light
Show on WHLI 1100AM in New York City, produces a weekly wellness
newsletter, and has been featured on radio/TV and print media.
To learn more click here to visit Debbie's site.
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