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Horticulture Therapy: Gardening Self-Care

Ever caught yourself wondering how plants and horticulture can impact your mental health?

Lucky for you, we have partnered with Carrie Meckler, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor & Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist from Coping Forward Counseling Services, to guide us to the benefits of plants & horticulture in our lives.

Read on to see what Carrie has to say about Gardening and some benefits beyond just reaping a harvest of delicious food...

Do you enjoy connecting with nature?

Are you looking for a way to de-stress after a long week?

Are you getting enough self-care?

Gardening can help make you feel peaceful and content in several ways.

As a Mental Health Therapist, one of my favorite therapy techniques is using your five senses; this is a skill you can take anywhere, any place, at any time. If you are familiar with Dialectical Behavior Therapy, you may already be using this distress tolerance and self-soothing skill.

Using your 5 Senses in the garden can help keep you in the moment and stay in the present.

Let’s think here of our five senses- SMELL, TOUCH, TASTE, HEAR and SEE.

If I head to my backyard right now, even on this November, gloomy day, I can boost my mood in just five minutes.

I SMELL the peppers, tomatoes, lavender, and rosemary.

I SEE the beautiful marigolds and pansies in my raised bed.

I HEAR the birds chirping and the squirrels falling off my bird feeder.

I bring my herbs, tomatoes, and peppers inside; then I make a delicious salsa for an afternoon snack to TASTE.

I FEEL the fresh flowers and herbs in my hands.

That’s it, five minutes; my mood boosts, and I feel a sense of peace.

My garden is a place of calmness and a place to sit quietly with my thoughts.

Gardening is therapeutic and is a coping mechanism that I share with my clients every day. It not only helps you mentally, but also improves your physical health. Gardening is a form of exercise and also a great way to get good nutrition.

I started gardening in my twenties after I finally asked my mom how she got her green thumb. This is something my mom taught me how to do, and now my mom and I get to share these experiences together. This has been a true gift to grow together in this area, with one of my favorite people in the world.

Gardening is a great way to spend time with your friends and family, while impacting your relationship in a positive way.

Notice all of the ways in which gardening fosters self-care; through relationships, nutrition, physical activity, and soothing and boosting your mood. Through the use of your five senses with your gardening, you can create a sense of calmness and peacefulness in your day. And we all need a little more of that!

You can check out more about Carrie Meckler at her Coping Forward Counseling website.

Look forward to hearing more from Carrie in the future, as she connects the many benefits of horticulture on mental health.

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