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Gardening For Wellness

Strawberries and green onions flourish in the garden bed at Ishihara Park Learning Garden, with trays of kale and other vegetable seedlings ready for planting.

In today's fast-paced world, stress and anxiety can be high, so finding peace of mind becomes increasingly important. One easy and local way to achieve mental well-being is right in our backyards – gardening. Beyond just a hobby or a means of sustenance, gardening offers countless therapeutic benefits that can positively impact our mental health.


The connection between gardening and mental health stems from the beneficial connection that exists between humans and nature. Spending time in green spaces has been shown to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. The pro-cess of tending to plants or watering them promotes concentration as well as a sense of peace as one becomes more in sync with nature's patterns.


In addition, gardening is a form of physical activity that not only keeps our bodies moving but also produces endorphins, the body's natural mood boosters. The combination of physical activity and exposure to sunlight can help reduce feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety.


Aside from the individual benefits, gardening provides opportunities for social connection and community engagement. Community gardens, in particular, provide spaces for people to come together, share experiences, and support one another. These situations produce a sense of belonging and connection, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.


The mental health benefits of gardening are numerous and undeniable. Whether you have a backyard garden or just a few pots on the balcony, nurturing plants can bring immense joy and fulfillment. If you don’t have the space, the Santa Monica Community Garden Program, Will Rogers Regenerative Farm, and Growing Hope Gardens offer volunteer opportunities. If you want to learn more about the program, email So, the next time you feel overwhelmed or need a mental rest, consider stepping outside and getting your hands dirty in the garden. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

By Michaela Grant

Climate Action Corps Fellow, City of Santa Monica

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