These days, when people want to relax, they go for Netflix and chill. Or perhaps they hang out in the patio, sipping their tea. A 2016 study, though, has a different opinion. The best place to feel better is the garden.
Gardens Are Also about Restorations
When you want to lower your stress levels or boost your mood, call garden designers. That’s the finding of MedUni Vienna researchers in 2016.
The study, published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, involved over 800 people from 16 to 82 years old. They answered a survey that compared balconies, terraces, and gardens as most restorative. Most of the participants rated the last one as the best among the three.
The data also revealed that most people of all ages enjoyed looking at plants. There were also no significant differences in results between men and women.
Renate Cervinka, one of the researchers, explained that the natural elements in the garden, rather than the furniture pieces, were what increased the therapeutic factor. Other existing studies seemed to corroborate that.
1. Attention Restoration Theory
One of these is Stephen and Rachel Kaplan’s attention restoration theory (ART). According to it, nature can improve concentration and decrease mental fatigue.
In urban settings, such as in the workplace, people deal with many stimuli. Take, for example, a job that demands working with a spreadsheet. Over time, this task can cause directed attention fatigue since it forces the brain to focus.
It’s different from nature. While the eyes still focus on various objects, the concentration is more seamless. This transition then allows the brain to relax and recover from mental fatigue.
2. Vitamin D
Gardens also encourage people to spend more time outdoors. In the process, they help their bodies produce vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin is famous for enhancing the absorption of calcium in the bones. But it can also increase the production of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps improve pleasant feelings or mood.
3. Stress Reduction
Nature can also help relieve stress, and it takes only five minutes of exposure to enjoy the benefits, according to a Cornell University study. Besides uplifting your mood, being with nature can also slow down your heart rate and bring down your blood pressure, which are both biomarkers for stress.
But Take Note
A garden might be better than the couch or the terrace in cheering you up or reducing your anxiety, but the Vienna researchers have some caveats. The garden designers in Kent can only do so much for you. You need to build a personal relationship with it.
What does this mean? The researchers encouraged people to enjoy it! Spend time with your plants or do some activities with the family in the space. It might also be essential to keep it as close to nature as possible. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on chairs and decors.
Most of all, the researchers recommended people to learn to surrender themselves to the beauty of nature. This way, they can learn to let go of the cares of the world and truly relax.