Growing Plants and Ourselves
By Annabelle Hird, MBACP, Gestalt Therapist.
When was the last time you made something, fixed something or grew something just for the sheer pleasure of it? For many of us the way in which we work and live means that the sense of satisfaction you get from creating something probably ceases to be a regular part of our lives once childhood is over. That is such a loss.
Huge numbers of people who struggle with mental health issues report gardening as a way of managing their difficult feelings and generally cheering them up, and it really is no wonder. Besides the fact that, as Freud said “Flowers are restful to look at. They have no emotions or conflict”, the benefits of growing plants are many and varied. For a lot of people the process of growing something allows the experience of those feelings that you had as a child when you made that model of Tracy Island you saw demonstrated on Blue Peter with the added benefit that the product is something that you would actually want to keep in your home!
It is not just the human need to create that gardening indulges, it allows us all, regardless of gender or age, to be nurturers, and take it from a mum, there is something so satisfactory in not having to negotiate with your little plant baby. If you think it needs watering you get to water without protestation. Growing a plant will let you feel the responsibility and pride in that you get from nurturing something living and beautiful without the complications and emotional work involved in being in relation to another person.
It is the simple act of putting in time and effort and getting out something wonderful that contributes so positively to the state of mind in plant enthusiasts everywhere.