Gardening to Reduce Stress

Many people like to spend time gardening to reduce stress. I also like to garden and get my hands dirty, but oftentimes the pleasant activity of backyard gardening is mixed with the unpleasant activity of yard work. Actually, most of the yard work is fun (trimming trees and shrubs, weeding the garden beds) but the actual clean up portion is what I dread. And while I am zeroing in on the unpleasant parts, I have to say that the worst plants to deal with are the rose bushes in our front yard.

Our rose bushes grow like crazy during the summer, so they require a lot of maintenance, otherwise things can quickly get out of control. The thorns on those branches are sharp! Of course I wear gloves and long sleeves but they don’t offer that much protection, especially when bagging all the clipped branches, and this is where the stress-reduction comes in.

I don’t curse or use bad words often, but during the bagging of those thorny rose clippings, F-bombs fill the air. Normally I am doing yard work alone so I can really let loose with the cursing without having to worry about offending anybody. I used to just focus on the frustration and pain (physical), but now I’ve found that by focusing on the actual cursing and imagining the release of all that tension, it turns into a positive experience. I kind of imagine that attached to each swear-word is a small amount of stress, and it is being released from my mind and into the air. This is stress that has built up throughout the week, not just because of the rose bushes. You know what? This positive spin seems to work. And it is actually pretty funny – I can’t help but laugh at myself!


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