Gardening with Allen

Suffering Exam Stress? Gardening Therapy will Boost your Wellness

If you’re suffering from exam stress, spending some time gardening can boost your mental and physical wellbeing. Engaging with the natural world provides a great antidote to stress and gardening is arguably one of the most common ways to interact with nature.

Reductions in stress, fatigue, depression, anger and anxiety have been documented by researchers when studying the effect of gardening on health.

A proven stress reliever

A study conducted on two groups of students in the Netherlands showed lower cortisol levels in those who read in the garden for 30 minutes after finishing a stressful task than those who read indoors.

Mindfulness can have a great impact on stress levels, helping with anxiety and depression, boosting productivity and easing insomnia. Exposure to soil, nature and sunlight increases mindfulness and stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that can help to reduce anxiety.

Boosts brain health

Repetitive actions like weeding can have a calming effect on the mind. The brain stays active but it isn’t strained. It can help you to problem solve because when you put problems right out of your mind, you often increase your chances of receiving clarity.

Gardening gets you into the state where you don’t notice time passing, you stay in the present and your mind becomes clearer.

A release for negative emotions

When you’re battling to get to grips with some difficult material, grab a shovel and start digging or pick up some shears and start cutting. You will soon find that negative feelings of frustration start to fade. As your mind frees itself of negative emotions, you have more chance of absorbing new material when you get back to your studies.

When you have to take your CPA exams, you may be feeling plenty of negative emotions as these exams are notoriously difficult. Today’s exam prep courses for CPA’s can directly impact whether you pass them or not. Picking the CPA review materials that work for your study habits and lifestyle offers you the best chance of passing.

Helps with depression

When depression is the result of a chemical imbalance, it is associated with not enough dopamine in the brain. Getting your hands into some soil in the garden can evidently increase dopamine and serotonin levels.

In a study on mice, exposure to ‘friendly’ bacteria found in soil altered their behavior in much the same way as antidepressants. Researchers at the University of Bristol and University College London looked at the brains of mice and studied how treatment with a certain bacteria in soil activated neurons that produced serotonin.

In the mice, the natural effects were felt for up to three weeks. When gardening, you inhale soil bacteria and have physical contact with it. These antidepressant microbes are also being investigated for improving cognitive function.

Good exercise

If you spend too much time at a desk, you can become lethargic and your brain won’t be able to retain facts. Taking regular breaks is important and staring at a screen during a break doesn’t have much benefit. Half an hour working in the garden can help you to get some aerobic exercise, lower your cortisol levels, boost your dopamine levels and get you ready to study some more.

Increased immunity

When you’re spending so much time indoors studying, you can start to feel low physically and mentally. Sunlight is a proven serotonin stimulator and exposing yourself to daily sunlight helps you to cope with increased stress.

Gardening can trigger your dopamine and serotonin levels, connect you to nature and improve your physical health, all of which increase your immunity.

Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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