Consider the following statistics: Roughly one third of Americans report experiencing an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Around 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Forty-one percent of Americans said in 2021 that their anxiety increased in 2021 over 2020, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Life is just … hard right now, and Americans are suffering the consequences. They are also looking for solutions, and one solution proposed by nationally recognized psychologist G. Frank Lawlis is an increased connection to nature. Lawlis will be presenting three workshops this fall designed to help participants find healing and wholeness through nature.
Many area residents find the Garden a place of respite and renewal—a home away from home. But the Garden is also a different kind of sanctuary: It is home to dozens of bird species. The Garden is a hotspot for birds, who find safe nesting places in our trees and shrubs as well as numerous sources of food and water. Many enthusiastic bird watchers make regular trips to the Garden to look for both common and uncommon species.
One of the best things about working outside in a garden is the visibility of the results. You can see your hard work pay off as flowers bloom. But there’s another benefit, one that is just as real but less obvious to the eye: Gardening supports your mental health. Experts from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will teach a workshop on wellness in the garden this month that will share tips on reducing stress and anxiety through gardening.
Exercise can sometimes feel like a chore. You know it’s good for you, and you’re always glad you’ve done it, but it can seem like yet another obligation. But what if exercising wasn’t a burden but rather a treat? That’s what yoga in the Garden offers, says yoga instructor Edwina Taylor. “The Garden is so peaceful and invigorating. You feel the breeze and the warmth of the sun. And it’s so relaxing to be outside moving and breathing.”
Today we have a pretty clear idea where our food comes from: the grocery store. Of course, we know that food is actually grown and raised on farms, but most Americans today have spent little to no time at a farm or ranch. True, some keep a garden, raise backyard chickens or hunt, but for the majority of us, food comes from the store and is wrapped in plastic. Author Eric Knight would like to change that. He encourages Texans to get outside and find their food by foraging for the edible plants. Knight will introduce foraging with a book talk and signing on March 26 at the Garden.
Many people give little thought to the soil under their feet. It’s just dirt, after all. But gardeners know that healthy soil is essential to healthy plants. If you’re looking to up your gardening game this year, invest in your soil.
It’s true that in a few months you’ll be able to walk into a garden center or home improvement store and find row upon row of vegetables ready for you to transplant into your garden. But there’s a certain magic to growing plants from seed, not to mention opportunities to save money and grow exactly what you want.
We are deep into the holiday season, and could there be anything more wonderful—or more stressful? Most Decembers are accompanied by angst over gift shopping, budget balancing, house decorating, party going, cookie baking and family gathering. But 2021 has its own special flavor of stress. We’re here to tell you it’s all going to be okay. Just take a deep breath. We mean it. Take a deep breath. Simply by slowing down your breathing, you can reduce stress during the holidays and every day after.
Contemporary life is full of millions of stimuli fighting for your attention. We are bombarded with alerts, notifications, pop-ups and announcements. Contrast this type of frantic living with the peaceful experience of being within nature. Trees and flowers demand nothing of you. You are free to notice what you want, or simply to be. This experience has been given a name in Japan. It is called “shinrin-yoku,” which translates to “forest bathing,” using “bathing” to mean immersing yourself within something. The term was introduced in Japan in the 1980s to encourage people to disconnect from technology and spend time outdoors.