Doctors Abroad Are Prescribing Gardening and Art to Patients. A New Study Finds They’re on to Something – Inc.

In 2016 the CDC found that one-in-six Americans was taking a prescription drug for a mental health issue. In 2021, after the pandemic had been wreaking havoc with our mental health for two years, that figure rose to almost one-in-four . By all accounts, both journalistic and anecdotal, we’re still an anxious, moody, stressed-out nation (and entrepreneurs are  even more prone to psychological health challenges than the general public).  

Perhaps we need some new approaches. Doctors abroad might have some inspiration to offer. As I have written previously, doctors in Canada and the U. K. have already been writing prescriptions for mental health-boosting activities like going to an art museum or picking up the few houseplants with the aim of easing patients’ anxiety and depression.  

It’s certainly a lot more pleasant than swallowing a handful of pills, but is it effective? Could something similar help America tackle its increasingly large burden of mental wellness complaints? A small new study , while preliminary, suggests that will obtaining a paintbrush or even a bag of potting soil could be an alternative to a prescription for Prozac or Paxil.  

Building the case for artwork and nature therapy

There is an absolute mountain of literature that interacting with both the natural world and art is good for our mental health , and many therapists are aware of these effects. Art therapy has been well known with regard to years and horticultural therapy is a burgeoning field . But making these interventions more mainstream and widely available will require a whole lot more data. This brand new study, recently published in PLOS One , is one step on that journey towards greater scientific rigor.  

“There is an extensive history and books of anecdotal endorsements that will engaging within gardening actions and horticultural therapy or people-plant interactions such as visiting gardens has therapeutic benefits, ”  explained study author Charles Guy. “What seems to end up being presently missing is evidence from properly designed plus properly controlled large-scale clinical trials. ”

To begin moving in that direction, Man designed the pilot study that assigned 17 healthy women to an art treatment class and 15 to a gardening class, carefully measuring how the particular activities impacted their psychological health. This is a small research and its results aren’t generalizable beyond this particular demographic group, but nonetheless the results were promising.  

After eight one-hour classes “participants in both the art plus gardening groups showed reductions in mood disturbances, perceived stress, and depression symptoms following the interventions. There was some proof that the particular gardening group experienced slightly stronger advantages, ”  explains PsyPost . And the more time the participants spent engaged in their target activity, the greater the benefits seemed to be.

DIY art plus nature therapy 

This finding is a long way from most people being able to walk up to their local doctor’s office and come home with a prescription for the figure drawing or bonsai making course (and having their insurance pay for it), but it is a probably healthful reminder that will there are far more paths to dealing with mental health difficulties than only a bunch associated with pills.  

While scientists gather information and policy makers dicker over who will spend on what, it’s possible for entrepreneurs to take matters into their own hands immediately. Other studies show even the few hours a week out in character can have measurable impacts upon your psychological health . Research confirms even just looking at a green roof or even house plant can soothe stress.   Similarly, producing art (even if you’re terrible at it) has been shown in order to boost your mood and calm your mind.

The American medical establishment may take a while to come to grips with the more holistic approach to mental health care, but you can write your own prescription now. Take a trip to the garden or art supply store plus engage in a little DO-IT-YOURSELF therapy of your own.  

The opinions expressed here by Inc. com columnists are usually their personal, not those of Incorporation. com.

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