10 Ways to Practice Mindfulness in Your Garden

Our culture is fast-paced and focused on what we can get done in a short amount of time. Because of this, mindfulness is beginning to come to the forefront of many conversations in and outside of the workplace.

Merriam-Webster defines mindfulness as, “The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

Like many people, I have been trying to practice mindfulness lately, and I am amazed at how much I miss throughout the day because my mind is constantly thinking about the next task or trying to multitask. Gardening is a great way to practice mindfulness and being present in the moment. The five senses – touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing – help ground us when we are distracted or upset, and all our senses can be used in the garden.

Gardens, and the outdoors in general, are therapeutic. Many people already use gardening as a type of personal therapy. There are countless ways to practice mindfulness in the garden, whether it’s a patio garden or a whole farm. Below are a few ideas on how to practice mindfulness in the garden.

Hands in soil with blue watering can
Gardening without gloves allows you to feel your environment more, which can help you stay more mindful during the task.
  • Pay attention to the feel of soil without gloves or the wind on your face.
  • Smell the soil and scents of outside (too bad we can’t avoid the pollen).
  • Look at flowers closely and notice the intricate details of each one. They are amazing!
  • Rub your fingers on herb leaves to release the oils and smell the aroma of that herb.
  • Listen to the sounds in the garden/outdoors – birds, water, rustling leaves or plants, windchimes, people talking or laughing.
  • If growing herbs, fruits, or vegetables, walk the garden and do a taste test of the produce and really focus on what you are eating. What does it taste like or how does it feel in your mouth as you eat it?
  • Watch the insects that visit the plants. How do they move? What are the colors or patterns on them?
  • Notice the feel and weight of garden tools in your hands. Is the tool rough, smooth, heavy or light?
  • Regularly observe the same plant as it grows and notice how different parts of the plant change throughout the growing process.
  • When watering a plant, notice how the water looks coming out of the hose or how it feels when it touches your skin.

The world around us is full of new experiences when we are completely engaged in what we are doing. Gardens and gardening are unique in that they can engage all the senses. Even if you do not have a garden at home, visit a park or take a walk in your neighborhood to practice mindfulness and give your mind a rest from the stress and rush of daily life.

Emily Anderson is the Garden Specialist for the North Texas Food Bank.