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Gardening and Attention Deficit Disorder
In recent years my gardening adventures have been almost non-existent. Well, except for taking our grassy front lawn out and planting perennials, much to the disbelief of some of our neighbors. Five years later, some of them still can't believe it. This year, I am looking forward to ramping up my gardening and turning our yard into a suburban paradise for our wild animal friends. I believe that time spent in the garden will also improve some of the troublesome symptoms of my Attention Deficit Disorder. Are you shaking your head and saying, "Whaaat?" After reading ADD research for almost four years, here is my creative thinking on the subject of how gardening might affect ADD.
Research has shown that spending time in open green spaces improves impulsivity and concentration in children. Here's hoping that it will do the same for adults who are gardening! If you have an open area, rather than one with a lot of trees, you should get some benefit. Even if your garden is not in the wide open green space, at least you'll get some fresh air.
Bursts of intense exercise will help to bathe the brain in oxygen. From digging dirt to hoeing weeds, the garden offers many opportunities for intense exercise. This exercise helps with executive function and making good decisions.
What if swift movement is not in your skillset? Try slow, deliberate movement. Get into the movement and free your mind. Planting seeds or pulling weeds can both be a moving meditation. Meditation on a regular basis improves concentration and memory. It helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Not all people with Attention Deficit Disorder are burdened by food sensitivities that exacerbate their negative symptoms of ADD. However, some are. Are you or someone that you love one of those people? Gardening can be the answer to improving your nutrition. You can raise your garden without chemicals. Serve the food at the height of its ripeness and taste. Know exactly what you are putting on your table. Raise your family's favorite veggies. Let your children experience working in the garden, picking, and preparing the bounty from the garden. Picky eaters sometimes become more interested in a variety of foods if they are part of the process of raising homegrown vegetables.
How do you garden? Maybe you pore over seed catalogs while the snow is still covering the ground and start your own plants. Do you enjoy the bustle of buying spring plants at the local farmers' market? Does your favorite plant center sell your chosen veggie plants? Use your creativity to get the perfect plants that you want for your garden. Sow or transplant them where the plants will be in optimum growing conditions, but also pay attention to where they make you happy! You don't have to plant long rows of veggies. Plant blocks of vegetables with your flowers. Use your gardening skills to release your inner plant steward and to help improve your negative symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Connie Mistler Davidson. All rights reserved.
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