Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Happiness found in garden - survey

A poll found 80 per cent of gardeners feel satisfied with their lives
A poll found 80 per cent of gardeners feel satisfied with their lives

Gardeners are happier than non-gardeners and less likely to display signs associated with unhappiness or depression, a survey suggests.

The poll of 1,500 UK adults for Gardeners' World magazine found gardeners score higher than the average person on measures including how worthwhile they believe their life is and how satisfied they are with their life generally.

It found 80% of gardeners feel satisfied with their lives compared with 67% for non-gardeners, and 93% of gardeners think gardening improves their mood.

The survey also revealed 78% of walkers are satisfied with their lives as are 75% of those who fish and 73% of those keen on computing, compared with 55% of those with no hobbies.

When asked if they were happy yesterday, 80% of active people said yes compared with 57% of those who described themselves as inactive.

The most popular hobby in the UK is computing or gaming, with 52% of respondents naming it as their favourite pastime, while gardening came joint second at 43% with walking or hiking, according to the study.

Gardeners' World editor Lucy Hall said: "We have long suspected it, but our research means we can definitely say gardening makes you happy.

"Part of it comes from nurturing something but also a natural optimism that no matter how bad the weather, there's always next year. It's also about passing the seed of knowledge and the pleasure that gives."

Professor of environment and society at the University of Essex, Jules Pretty, said: "Scientific research at a number of universities, including at the University of Essex, now clearly shows that engagement with green places is good for personal health. We also know that short-term mental health improvements are protective of long-term health benefits.

"We thus conclude that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with what we at Essex call green exercise. Gardening falls into this category - it is good for both mental and physical health, and all social and age groups benefit. It provides a dose of nature."

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