Gardening has benefits aplenty, from relieving stress to improving mood. One experiment by NASA found working with plants improved psychological well-being for astronauts in the harsh environment of outer space. Another study found gardening decreased levels of cortisol, the body's stress hormone, improved mood, and reduced feelings of stress. Other research links gardening with reductions in anger, fatigue, depression and anxiety, and even viewing plants can reduce blood pressure, pulse rate, and muscle tension. Gardening may also support the immune system; the "hygiene hypothesis" says beneficial bacteria found in soil can improve the microbiome and enhance immune response.
Ready to get digging? Start with these five easy-to-grow selections.