Having a garden is something people do for a lot of reasons. Some people do it because they love the fresh taste of homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers. Others choose to grow a garden because it’s a good way to get in shape and stay outside. For some, gardening is a way to practice mindfulness—which in turn, leads to many emotional and mental health benefits.
The practice of mindfulness is using your senses to center yourself. It’s a form of meditation that focuses on living in the now and grounding yourself. Gardening will always be a way to get in touch with nature, which means that you get the opportunity to experience all the different elements of Earth at one time.
Mindful gardening, therefore, is the practice of getting in touch with nature through the act of gardening—thereby gaining that awesome “zen” of calmness that can only come with living in the moment. People who practice mindful gardening feel more energizes, happier, and also remain more aware of their surroundings.
In theory, mindful gardening sounds innate. It just means calming down and focusing on the task, right? Not quite. Actually getting to that level of zen isn’t easy. Thankfully, there are several ways to make the most of your gardening time. These methods below help tons…
Before you can actually take in the beauty around you, you will need to turn off any distractions that you might have. For most of us, that means that you’re going to need to turn off your cellphone.
Think about it. Is it really that easy to look around at nature if you constantly have your phone buzzing with texts from your business partner or friends? Not really. Studies show that frequent phone checking leads to higher rates of anxiety, depression and agitation. That’s not very zen, is it?
Some people can get by with just putting their phone on silent while they garden. Not all of us can, though, and that’s okay. If you’re the type to check it every other minute, it’s best to leave your phone inside your house while you’re out gardening.
This is a classic exercise in mindfulness. In order to fully appreciate nature, you often have to take in every element in its own time. It’s the easiest way to remind yourself that you are in the middle of nature and that your primary goal is to stop and smell the flowers.
To start, close your eyes and listen to all the noises you hear in the garden—the bees buzzing, the birds chiping, everything. Once you listen to everything, move your attention to the smell of the garden, the soil, and the plants around you. After that, open your eyes and look around you. Then, grab your soil and get to work.
Some might find this to be a little too “crunchy” for their tastes, but walking barefoot through a garden is a great way to practice mindfulness. The coolness and texture of the soft grass underneath your feet help remind you of where you are and why.
In certain circles, walking barefoot is considered to be a way to re-energize and connect your body with the world around you. Choosing to do this is a good way to get more into that meditative state.
Mindfulness is also about realizing that you are around other living beings, flowers included. If you want to get more into the “zen zone,” take a close look at the flowers that you’re caring for. How are their petals? Does the flower smell good? How many petals does the flower have?
The more you pay attention to the flower, the more you’ll start to see how amazing it is. The shift in focus also helps you quell your racing thoughts on other topics, which makes being mindful far easier.
If you’re feeling particularly stressed out, getting mindful right off the bat might be hard. That’s why it might be a good idea to add yoga to your gardening routine. A quick Sun Salutation routine, or even just a 10-minute stretch can be more than enough to garner the tranquility you need to ground yourself.
If you don’t have the time for a full set of asanas, don’t worry. Even taking a quick pause to center yourself can have an amazing effect on people.
So you have spider mites on you begonias, and that one annoying vine keeps creeping around your precious roses. It’s annoying, right? Of course it is, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still practice mindful gratitude while you’re working on tending to your gardens.
Though you may be having a hard time with your plants, this is actually a great time to practice gratitude. You still have a garden! You still have the health you need to tend to your plants. Think of all the little things you’re enjoying at that very moment, and you’ll realize that you still have a lot to be grateful for.
A lot of meditative concepts involve routine. Mindful gardening isn’t going to be one of them—or at least, it shouldn’t be. In order to fully experience the magic that comes with mindful gardening, it’s important to avoid going through full routines without actually taking in what’s happening around you.
The entire concept of mindful gardening circles back to noticing the little details of life. So, really, try to engage yourself while you garden. If you can’t go through your gardening routine without resorting to autopilot, take a step back and come up with a different way of doing things. Even just switching up the order in which you care for things can help you refocus yourself.