Mindfulness in the Garden
As a coach, I spend a lot of time helping people find ways to improve their creativity, productivity and confidence. Many of these strengths arise as a result of taking a more mindful approach. The more we practice mindfulness, the more naturally these traits will come to us. Opportunities for mindfulness can be found in lots of different day to day activities, but one that seems to be a particularly organic fit is gardening.
That’s because gardening allows plenty of opportunities to connect with your senses and the world around you in a very real way, and it offers the perfect conditions for achieving a state of ‘flow’.
Grounded and Connected
At its core, mindfulness is about being fully engaged with any given moment. This means being connected to the world around you. Mindfulness practices such as mindful eating teach us to fully engage with our surroundings through our senses, to help ground us in the present. Gardening, or even just being outdoors in nature, gives us another opportunity to do this.
How many shades of green can you see? How many different colours and shapes? Can you see the water droplets on the leaves or grass?
What do you notice about the differences between bird calls? How does the sound of the wind in the trees make you feel?
Fragrant herbs and shrubs such as Lavender are the perfect addition to a mindful garden.
Growing your own fruit and veg or blackberry picking in the countryside offers plenty of opportunity for some mindful eating.
The soil between your fingers, the grass between your toes. How many different textures can you find in your garden?
Your garden is the perfect place to fully engage with the world around you, using all of your senses. This founding principle of mindfulness can help you to fully appreciate and enjoy each moment, just as it is.
Find Your Flow
Closely related to mindfulness is the concept of flow; the state of being totally absorbed in a task that you enjoy. In this state, you lose all concept of time, and anything else going on around you. There is only you and the task at hand. When was the last time you were in flow? So often we work and perform on autopilot as our minds wander, distracted by our thoughts about everything except the here and now. Gardening tasks such as weeding, sowing, pruning, even mowing the lawn offer plenty of chances to achieve a state of flow, in which creativity, productivity and happiness all improve.
You don’t have to have acres of land to enjoy the benefits of mindful gardening. Even just walking around a local park, paying special attention to your surroundings can have a positive impact. When you have the opportunity to flex your green fingers, you may find it’s not just the flowers that bloom, but your wellbeing too.