There is this hallowed idea among the general working population that some of us are happy. Do you know any of these people? I know a few but I also know a few more that aren’t Maybe in your social circle job satisfaction is the norm but there are an awful lot of people for whom this is not the case. They may have had ideas and dreams as a child or teen but somehow life didn’t pan out that way. We’ve all heard the cliché that money doesn’t bring happiness. According to a City and Guilds study, gardeners are the happiest workers and the least happy are, wait for it… bankers! What is it that makes us happy and contented in our work and why is it so important? We spend such a large part of our week at work. Even when we’re not there, we’re often thinking about it or preparing to go back, so it makes sense that our feelings towards our work will affect our general well being. Apparently, to be truly happy and contented at work, we need to feel recognised, appreciated and supported. We need to feel as if we’re doing something worthwhile while being able to use our skills every day, as well as receiving training and having the opportunity to learn. Gardeners, it would seem, are getting all of this in spades. Ahem. Read on to see how they manage to tick all these boxes.
It’s good for us! We all know that really. Many of us spend the day sitting at a desk and call at the gym after work, or go out for a run. Well, I have heard of such people anyway, but gardening is pretty much hard core exercise all day long. Bending, squatting, digging, weeding, hoeing and raking makes a pretty good workout for the whole body and most gardeners will be fit and toned, presumably adding to their general contentment as well as filling them with endorphins.
An added bonus of all of this lovely, happy exercise is that it is executed outside in the fresh air. Plenty of sunshine, vitamin D, and lots of lovely oxygen in the lungs contribute to a healthy lifestyle. The downside is being required to work in bad weather but fresh air is mood boosting even if it is a rainy day.
People tend to feel real pride in creating things and gardeners are constantly surrounded by the fruits of their labour. Planting a seed and watching it grow into a plant is one of life’s simple pleasures and in gardening this will often be happening on a grand scale. Being surrounded by beauty that has been cultivated and created by ourselves is extremely pleasing, leading to that all elusive job satisfaction.
Nurture = Love
Creating a wonderful garden is an act of love. It requires the gardener to nurture and care for their plants and raise their babies into healthy adults. This is the same for relationships and well, if it can be done in the garden…
Dirt is good for you
As well as the digging part being good for you, there is actually something in the mud that improves mood and reduces anxiety. A particular bacterium has been shown to be present in the soil that can have all sorts of health benefits as well as increasing serotonin. With all of these pointers for happiness and well-being, I, for one, am going to log off now and get out in my garden.
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