Emotional well-being while home gardening similar to other popular activities

Written by
Morgan Kelly
Morgan Kelly, High Meadows Environmental Institute
July 10, 2020

As civic leaders and urban planners work to make cities more sustainable and livable by investing in outdoor spaces and recreational activities such as biking and walking, Princeton researchers have identified the benefit of an activity largely overlooked by policymakers — home gardening.

The researchers found that, across the study’s population, the level of emotional well-being, or happiness, that people reported while gardening was similar to that experience while biking, walking or dining out, according to a study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning. The researchers found that home gardening was among the top five of the 15 activities studied in terms of how meaningful an activity felt to people while engaging in it.

Home gardening was the only activity for which women and people with low incomes reported higher emotional well-being than men and medium- and high-income participants, respectively.

The benefits of gardening on happiness were similar across racial boundaries and between urban and suburban areas. In addition, whether people gardened alone or with others made no difference, and people who kept vegetable gardens reported a higher level of average emotional well-being than people who worked in ornamental gardens.

Click here for an infographic breaking down the study’s key findings.

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