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Reclaim your Zen – Indulge in Gardening

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Beautiful Gardens of Doon- 58

You don’t stop gardening when you get old; you get old when you stop gardening

By SUNITA VIJAY

As times change, we make alterations in our lifestyle; we must do the same with our gardens. Let’s focus on creating a heaven for ourselves and for other living creatures who may find solace in the yard, refraining from making it an awe-inspiring place with a hidden aim to earn praise from visitors and soak in ‘neighbours’ envy, owner’s pride’ kind of a feeling.

Indulge in gardening for your own joy; it is not a competing zone
It has been observed that in most of our ventures, we work towards impressing others. This indirectly agitates our stress germs, elevates it. Unknowingly, we enter in a silent competition with the world. Competing is good – it paves way for improvement and better results, but it should be to the point where it doesn’t become onerous. Life never ceases to bombard us with innumerable problems, let gardening be a pleasure endeavour and not that make us a braggart. Let this noble hobby be practiced in its purest form.

If the constant worry is to create the most neat and manicured garden to score points in our circle or locality, then we are treading the wrong path. Gardening should not aim to massage our ego where it stands out to become a social status. It should be a space that is high in aesthetics, that calms us, provides peace and reclusion, a much-needed dose in the hullabaloo of today’s life. It should be our own zone where eyes act as a window to calm the mind. Compete with oneself, one’s self-set goals. Experiment, try new things, make new patterns and shapes of beds, change the orientation of pots to give a fresh look each year. Efforts should be to be in harmony with nature.

Keep it simple and neat to provide less stress and more relaxation
A simple, tidy garden brings tranquillity. It should not be a draining experience rather one should derive benefits out of it. It should be a relaxing space where one can admire the beauty of nature, its richness, profundity, variety and ever-changing moods. It is all about calming the mind while we connect with nature. But if the liking is for a prim-proper-manicured garden, and the same is affordable, then one may go for it. Set physical limits depending on the number of hours one can devote and the budget. Gardening requires lot of sweat, money and time. Constant efforts of nurturing, repotting, clearing the beds, manuring, weeding, etc. require toiling. Avoid exotic plants. They require more care and less results; will disappoint. Go for easy-breezy, hardy, native plants and flowers. They will yield fulfilling results.

Garden has therapeutic effect
Growing plants gives happiness. The riotous colours of flowers and plants render the significances of all the colours that nature provides. Plants can be grown anywhere by anyone. It is not necessary to have a big garden. A cosy balcony, a small roof, a decent veranda filled with selective plants helps create a sitting area to read a book or to watch the activities of birds, butterflies and squirrels. Keep a therapeutic time for yourself before the frenetic pace of bustling city life burns you out. Just slow down and get back in touch with nature.

Soil your hands and produce happy cells
According to research, getting your hands dirty in the garden can increase your serotonin levels – contact with soil and a specific soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of Serotonin (a happy chemical) in our brain that decreases depression and anxiety.

Feel the soil in your fingers, nurture the plants, see them grow, derive pride at their huge progress with smallest of efforts, laugh with them, admire their beauty; it’s therapeutic.

I guarantee, there is no living thing as investment on this earth than plants that gives multi-fold benefits in terms of relieving stress, developing a strong feeling of wellbeing and physical fitness. Expect an invaluable return.

Gardening will provide exposure to generate Vitamin D, which reduces dementia risks and dispenses mood-boosting benefits. It is also an enjoyable aerobic exercise; pulling weeds, twisting and bending and using tools will work on all muscles – indirectly providing strength, flexibility and stamina to the body.
Go for it and reclaim your Zen!