Plant Therapy

Lately I’ve been on a seesaw in the land of Over-Evaluating my career options and potential possibilities in the medical field. I’ve analyzed all the logistics and just when I’m about to crown my decision, I slowly decline back to, “Am I making the right decision?”

This past weekend was a busy one. Between a meeting,  jazz festival, hosting a few friends at my apartment, and a birthday party, I was all over the city trying to keep up with myself. It was time well-spent with some beautiful people, and a fun way to keep myself distracted.

In spite of the extended holiday weekend, I woke Monday morning feeling drained with no wish to engage in large groups of people. I was thinking about a peaceful activity that would occupy the space in my brain that was still feeling unsettled. I’m the outdoorsy type and needed independent interaction with the healing elements of nature, so I indulged in horticultural therapy.

Gardening is a relaxing, nurturing, and highly effective therapeutic process. A lot of us know that plants have healing properties, but accompanying their magical work are whispers from the wind, sun rays peaking through the wispy clouds, and the aesthetics and scent of, in my case, geraniums and gardenia. This serene combination creates an ambience for uplifting so I made a quick trip to the nursery for more terracotta pots, garden tools, and fresh flowers before spending a lovely day tending to my terrace.

Whether it’s potting new plants, refreshing soil, or sowing seeds, gardening is exercise. The serotonin and dopamine levels increase while simultaneously decreasing stress. Serotonin is a chemical released by nerve cells that is considered a mood stabilizer. It helps reduce depression and heal psychological wounds. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control emotional responses, and the brain’s pleasure centers. For me, gardening helps regulate my occasional anxiety. I also feel more creative which is a very important factor in everyday life. I become light and airy, but at the same time I feel grounded, and as a result, I can direct myself more fluidly through my thoughts. By dusk I had crowned my decision and kicked back with a bottle of organic wine.

Life is fun but it’s a gamble, and thankfully, nature has a way of giving you a hug and saying “Don’t worry, darling.”

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