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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2011 Jan;16(1):3-11.
doi: 10.1177/1359105310365577. Epub 2010 Jun 3.

Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration From Stress

Randomized Controlled Trial

Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration From Stress

Agnes E Van Den Berg et al. J Health Psychol. .


Stress-relieving effects of gardening were hypothesized and tested in a field experiment. Thirty allotment gardeners performed a stressful Stroop task and were then randomly assigned to 30 minutes of outdoor gardening or indoor reading on their own allotment plot. Salivary cortisol levels and self-reported mood were repeatedly measured. Gardening and reading each led to decreases in cortisol during the recovery period, but decreases were significantly stronger in the gardening group. Positive mood was fully restored after gardening, but further deteriorated during reading. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that gardening can promote relief from acute stress.

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