“I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Thoreau
There’s something satisfying about digging in the cool earth and getting your hands dirty. Feeling the soil, tending to plants, and seeing new life emerge from the fruits of your labor are rewarding, not to mention grounding – literally. Gardening gets you out into the fresh air and sunshine, which in itself helps boost mental wellness. (Make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen if you’ll be gardening for more than 15 minutes). In fact, according to research, gardening can reduce stress and anxiety – more than reading or other indoor activities. Spending a few days a week gardening even eases symptoms of depression for some people. Gardening is an escape from life’s worries and promotes a positive mood and a sense of healing. It makes sense that because plants are alive, we feel alive when we’re around them. This feeling multiplies when we’re growing the plants ourselves.
Gardening offers a personal connection with nature, and a simple way to find your balance. Similar to spending time in nature, digging in the garden can replenish your energy. One reason for this is that gardens give us critical time away from technology, which can actually make us more productive. When we give our brains a break, it gives them time to reset. Gardening and nature require a different kind of attention that doesn’t strain us the way that cell phones, TVs, and computers do.
The satisfaction that comes with growing your own fruits, veggies, herbs, plants, and flowers, and creating something from the earth with your bare hands, is like no other. Plus, you know where your food came from. Straight from the garden produce is the best tasting, highest in nutritional value, and free of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). You’re also reducing your carbon footprint, since the food only had to travel from your yard to your kitchen. Talk about local!
If you don’t have space for a garden in your yard, look into window boxes or community gardens. Or, call up a farm, greenhouse, or plant shop near you and ask if you might be able to spend some time there. Community gardens are places where people come together, build bridges, and transform neighborhoods. A beautiful and inspiring book that so fittingly illustrates this idea is “Seedfolks.” Check it out at your local library. Happy gardening!
Sharing the Massachusetts Approach to Fighting a National Epidemic posted on May 21
Today I had the distinct pleasure of appearing before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations at a hearing entitled “What are the State Governments Doing to Combat the Opioid Abuse Epidemic?”. It was an honor …Continue Reading Sharing the Massachusetts Approach to Fighting a National Epidemic
Weekly Flu Report, May 15, 2015 posted on May 15
Rates of flu-like illness continued to decline over the past seven days, according to the latest weekly flu report. The full report can be viewed here.
Highlights of the May 13th Public Health Council Meeting posted on May 13
This month’s meeting of the Public Health Council featured a series of informational updates and presentations from various DPH programs. First, Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management Director Mary Clark provided an overview of DPH’s activities to support the health and medical aspects of the …Continue Reading Highlights of the May 13th Public Health Council Meeting