Home Mental Health & Well-Being Study Reveals Gardening as the Most Calming Household Task

Study Reveals Gardening as the Most Calming Household Task

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Most people live increasingly busy lives, so it’s important to take the time to do something that relaxes the mind. Toolstation researched the most calming DIY tasks around the home, encouraging homeowners to pick up their rakes and paintbrushes and get stuck into some relaxing home maintenance.

To find which tasks were the most calming, over 100,000 Reddit comments about DIY were processed through a sentiment analysis, which picked out the emotions associated with different DIY tasks.  

Dr Gurpreet Kaur, a clinical psychologist, explains the health and wellness benefits of gardening:

“Being surrounded by greenery and engaging in gardening aligns with our evolutionary connection to natural environments, fostering a sense of well-being. Exposure to greenery, soil, and plants can trigger positive emotional responses and contribute to a sense of tranquillity. It can also help with mindfulness, as gardening requires a focus on the present moment whilst incorporating natural elements into human environments. 

“Gardening can help with stress reduction as ecotherapy, the interaction with nature, has been linked to the regulation of cortisol, the stress hormone. Spending time in a garden environment may help lower cortisol levels, promote a sense of calmness and reduce stress. It is often used for therapeutic benefits for the treatment of various mental health conditions due to its ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This may be related to the tactile element, which engages multiple senses, including touch, sight, and smell. The tactile sensations of handling soil and plants can be soothing and provide a sensory-rich experience that contributes to relaxation.”

The 10 most calming DIY tasks

Rank

DIY TasksJoy ExpressedPositivity ExpressedTotal Count of Emotion

Most Calming Score (out of 100)

1

Gardening plants

4,1607,47525,756

97

2

Interior design

5881,3064,393

89

3

Wallpapering

74159558

87

4

Shelving

2056442,171

77

5

Tiling

3731,3514,337

77

6

Gutter cleaning

1213881,313

76

7

Feng shui

4741,4595,020

76

8

Woodworking projects

8652,8959,785

75

9

Lawn weeding

7281,6546,638

74

10

Painting

5351,6606,083

73

Rhiannon Moore, from Toolstation, provides some extra advice to make gardening as relaxing as possible: “When gardening, good-quality tools make a world of difference. Ensuring that your tools are sturdy and comfortable to hold will reduce how much effort you must put in, meaning you’ll tire less quickly. Keep your tools well-maintained, as dull tools will result in a lot more elbow grease from you. Wearing gloves is helpful too, not only keeping your hands clean but also protecting them from any potential scrapes or insect bites.

“Try to break down your gardening into small chunks, reserving certain times of day for relaxation in your garden. Garden maintenance can quickly build up, so it’s better to keep up with this regularly than for it to become a larger chore later. A few minutes of weeding every few days is a great chance to escape the business of daily life, and your garden will thank you for it too.”

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