I read some months ago that gratitude is good for your health – that if you take time every day to be grateful, you are less likely to get sick and more likely to flourish. Now I’m about as eager to flourish as anyone I know, and I take my health seriously, but I have found a daily gratitude session to be really hard this year.
I think have found a solution to this: one place where it’s easy to be grateful, and that is the garden.
Gratitude Is Good for You
Gratitude is good for your health, they say. Okay, mental health I thought. But no, friends told me, all kinds of health. Since I am both an attorney and a writer, I was skeptical and did some research. It was amazing what experts had to say.
That is, gratitude is supposed to do the things you might expect, like enhancing empathy and helping you sleep better. But it is also reputed to keep you healthier physically, limit the number of aches and pains you experience and keep you going in to the doctor to keep healthy.
Gratitude can bring peace of mind by simply helping others.
The Lockdown Garden
This year, with all its trouble and sorrow and stress, proved difficult for most of us. I did not get infected with the virus, but many people did, both in this country and France. It all seemed so arbitrary and out of control. Gratitude was the last thing on my mind. But like so many others stuck at home, I found respite in the garden. I had always had a garden in the big backyard that I enjoyed on the weekends. With lockdown, it became a place I went every day.
The local garden store opened for pick-up only, so I splurged on seeds and starts I never would have bought otherwise. I planted strawberries and tomatoes, peppers and squash, all kinds of greens, and even put in a block of corn and sunflowers. I filled hanging baskets with flowers, started an herb garden, and planted California poppies.
Suddenly, before my eyes, miracles began happening every day. Seeds sprouted, tomato vines shot up, poppies budded, squash and strawberries appeared. Every morning I headed out back to see nature’s amazing power and gratitude in the garden rolled over me in waves. Every fruit, every flower, every new leaf thrills me. Every ladybug and drop of rain is a gift. The world outside still struggles and flails under the weight of the pandemic, and it will still be a long fight for humans to get on top of our problems. But nature has not given up; nature is continuing to work her wonders, presenting me with myriad opportunities every day to appreciate the tiny but miraculous work she is doing in my backyard.
So this year as you take part in holiday festivities, or not, let gratitude for life and all its wonders take the lead. Be inspired by the beauty hidden around you and pass it on… pay it forward. We’re all in this together. Give to others what the garden has given you – hope, happiness, harvest, etc. Give the gift of gardening, no matter how small. It will surely grow into something more!