Where you can bury your problems

Where you can bury your problems

At the end of a hectic day when schedules are full and the day-to-day operations fill my head, I find myself rolling up my sleeves to tend the earth and refresh my spirit.

You can bury a lot of problems in a garden. Whether I am planting, weeding or coaxing seeds into growth, I find solace. Any competing thoughts are calmed, and I am able to decompress and breathe.

The very sight and smell of flowers and plants promotes relaxation and peace of mind. The sound of leaves rustling in the breeze creates an aura that has a restorative effect, which draws the gardener closer to achieving a relaxed state of mind. Venturing outdoors, basking in the warm sunshine and connecting with nature by cultivating a garden can be a great way to unwind by distracting us from our full and busy lives.

Nurturing a garden has been shown to generate a meditative state through gardening tasks that require thoughtful focus, taking us away from our hectic lives. As a gardener, I treasure the cadence of working in my garden and the soothing effect it has on me.

An interesting study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found the physical act of gardening can cause a reduction of cortisol in the body, a chemical also known as the stress hormone. When cortisol levels are low, the body feels less anxiety. The study also found that gardening after a stressful task restored a positive mood and promoted “relief from acute stress,” even more than reading, a common stress reliever.

Exposure to bright natural sunlight during the day increases the secretion of serotonin in our bodies, a natural antidepressant, and will increase melatonin, the sleep hormone in our brain promoting our natural circadian rhythm.

So, after a long, hard day, I suggest looking to the dirt to find your breath and bring your world back into balance.

Laurie is a VP of Patient Services and the Chief Nurse Executive for Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. She previously served as a critical care nursing director and nurse manager of emergency and trauma services at other Advocate locations. She is passionate about professional nursing and recognizing those who serve patients and their families. When not in her garden, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family, including her four-legged children.

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2 Comments

  1. Gardening has always worked as stress relief for me too! I hope more people will learn to enjoy the benefits of gardening, along with providing stress relief, its exercise and helps beautify your home and neighborhood. I try to fit in at least 15 minutes a day, even if its towards evening. Thanks!

  2. You are awesome. I love this. I don’t have a space to garden living in a condo. But I see so many enjoying getting their hands in the dirt, planting a seed, watching their garden grow. Now I want to go to the greenhouse and get a pot of something for the balcony.

About the Author

Laurie Round
Laurie Round

Laurie is a VP of Patient Services and the Chief Nurse Executive for Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. She previously served as a critical care nursing director and nurse manager of emergency and trauma services at other Advocate locations. She is passionate about professional nursing and recognizing those who serve patients and their families. When not in her garden, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family, including her four-legged children.