Body, soul and gardening - the benefits of rituals

Whether it’s making a morning coffee with fresh beans, or having a G&T by the fire whilst counting your blessings, rituals are part of our lives.  Research reveals these little personal ceremonies can reduce anxiety and increase confidence.

Gardening lends itself to the comforting feeling of doing the same things every season.  It might be cutting the old leaves off hellebores and marvelling at their tight buds and beautiful speckled flowers pushing up in the coldest months, planting tulips in pots on a frosty morning with the radio on and a cup of tea steaming next to you, or the first mow of the lawn on a spring day.

Having the right mindset and savouring every detail can turn a chore into a soothing ritual.  My granny relished hanging out the washing in the garden – she’d choose a warm, breezy day, pause to enjoy the view and birdsong, and afterwards gather it in, appreciating how fresh it smelt.  It was her weekly ritual.  A friend loves the autumn job of raking leaves; she puts on her warm layers and fleece-lined wellies, plays some music and treats it like a warming work out!

Involving the whole family can bring the feeling of a ceremony to an activity.  This might involve getting kitted out in old coats and boots for a giant garden cut back, building a bonfire and coming back for tea and crumpets.  Or earlier in the season it could be picking blackberries, chatting while you work and making a crumble afterwards.  With the right attitude, seemingly mundane activities can be transformed into an opportunity to take stock and appreciate the joy in the little things in life.