Written by: Anne Marie Forgarty, RGN
Wellness Gardens: Relieving Stress through Nature
Exposure to nature relieves stress, and this is confirmed by the growing body of scientific evidence. Healthcare practitioners are embracing wellness gardens as a genuine therapeutic investment. According to much research, a wellness garden is positively associated with a reduction in sadness and anxiety symptoms.
Benefits of a Wellness Garden
Wellness gardens have become a healthy place to unwind – gardening, yoga, and meditation are just some of the activities that may be done here. Individuals can benefit from wellness gardens in various psychological, social, physical, emotional and spiritual ways. It is crucial for such tranquil gardens to contain a lot of green vegetation, flowers, and water features because of the pleasant reactions individuals have to nature.
Patients recuperating from accidents, strokes, surgeries, and other diseases are sometimes given the opportunity to work on their recovery in healing gardens. Having the ability to take charge of a problem and learn a new skill may boost one’s self-esteem when one is feeling powerless. These advantages aren’t limited to the healthcare industry. Many people are under a lot of stress because of the fast pace of our lives today.
Those green areas in hospitals and other healthcare institutions with a special goal of improving patient health are most commonly referred to as healing gardens. Patients, their families and the medical staff benefit from these gardens’ tranquillity and healing. Healing may occur in any setting, but gardens have a special ability to do so since people are hardwired to enjoy and appreciate nature.
Wellness gardens promote recovery, symptom and tension alleviation and a positive outlook on life.
Therapeutic landscapes, another word used in healthcare, differ slightly from healing gardens. Patients’ particular needs are considered while designing therapeutic landscapes or gardens. They frequently engage that population purposefully and actively. On the other side, healing gardens strive to be more passive and to assist a wide range of people, each with distinct requirements. According to their findings, research by Marcus and Barnes indicated that more than two-thirds of people prefer a natural location to flee to when they’re worried. 95% of those surveyed in another study reported an improvement in mood after spending time outside, going from depressed to peaceful and balanced.
Human Connection with Nature
Some believe that it is encoded into our DNA. Roger Ulrich, an expert on healing gardens, outlined that since we originated in nature, we have a physiologically developed propensity to respond positively to nature. Natural settings are advantageous to us, and we tend to respond favourably to them. As humans evolved, they became more aware of the world around them, which heightened their ability to survive and reproduce. As a result, those genes carried on the trait of being drawn to the beauty of nature. Images of nature have been shown to have a soothing impact on those who have just been through a stressful situation. Viewing natural images reduces blood pressure, respiratory rate, brain activity, and stress hormone production within three to four minutes. Again, this benefits our evolution since it allows us to swiftly replenish our energy reserves. Our ancestors relied on this capacity to swiftly recover from stress in order to be ready to respond to new challenges.
It is in nature that we are reminded of our interdependence with all other living things and our connection to the greater whole. To understand the ebb and flow of life, we must look to nature for inspiration. Nature is a place where we may have spiritual encounters with one other and with the universe at large. In a therapeutic garden, the most significant aspect is actual nature, such as green foliage and flowers, as well as a calming water element. The therapeutic properties of nature cannot be found in a garden full of sculptural elements.
If you find yourself dealing with stress and are looking for unique approaches to healing yourself, then wellness gardens are perfect for our current lifestyle.