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Gardening Can Help Beat Depression

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Organic Transitions page.

Every year, some 230 million prescriptions for antidepressants are filled, making them one of the most-prescribed drugs in the United States.

Despite this, the incidence of all forms of depression is now at 10 percent, according to 2012 statistics, and the number of Americans diagnosed with depression increases by about 20 percent per year.

Such statistics are a strong indication that what we're doing is simply not working, and that instead, these drugs are contributing to other serious health problems. Fortunately, there are other, safer, more effective ways to address depression-including something as simple as spending more time outdoors.

Gardeners Are Happier than Most Others

According to a recent survey for Gardeners World magazine, 80 percent of gardeners reported being "happy" and satisfied with their lives, compared to 67 percent of non-gardeners.

And the more time spent in the garden, the higher their satisfaction scores-87 percent of those who tend to their gardens for more than six hours a week report feeling happy, compared to those spending less time in their gardens.

Monty Don, a TV presenter and garden writer, attributes the well-being of gardeners to the "recharging" you get from sticking your hands in the soil and spending time outdoors in nature.

I can personally confirm this as over the past year I have started a major interest in high performance agriculture and biodynamic gardening, and have been busy applying it to my edible and ornamental landscape. I hope to soon teach all that I have learned.

Interestingly, fitness researchers have also found that when you exercise outdoors, you exercise harder but perceive it as being easier than when exercising indoors, which can have significant health benefits.        


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