The Art of Observation
Observation and meditation are one in the same. As you wander through your garden, you are igniting conscious awareness. This sort of intention increases the size of your hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter, or rather, increases positive emotion and balances emotional stability. What is fabulous about this brain development is that these benefits spill over into all activities in your life, not just the ones spent gardening.
Tending to your garden means getting a little dirty. Thankfully, soil contains a strain of bacteria called "Mycobacterium Vaccae" which instructs the brain to release Serotonin. Serotonin is one of those feel-good chemicals in the brain that we want in heaping doses to ease tensions and boost mood. Excellent treatment for anxiety and depression.
As well, the explosion of sensory data soothes and "grounds" our emotional state. We can literally connect with the earth in a way that triggers the parasympathetic system, the one we want to keep us feeling peaceful.
A Sunshine Hug
Be sure to spend some time nurturing your garden in the early morning hours, or as the sun is beginning to set. Not only are these times a little cooler and more practical for busy workdays, they also allow you to be outdoors without sunscreen. A wee bit of time with just a hat and a breezy cotton shirt can allow a little sun to sneak in and load up your Vitamin D stores to improve cognitive functioning and beat depression.