Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Do you ever feel stressed or anxious and do not know how to calm down? Do you have any chronic health conditions, such as cardiac disease, high blood pressure, or migraine headaches? If so, this might be of interest to you. Did you know that gardening and exposure to nature improves our health?

People have a natural affinity for nature. We weren’t meant to live in concrete boxes. Don’t you feel more relaxed when you are in the mountains, looking at beautiful scenery? It turns out that gardening can lower blood pressure, boost immune function, improve your sleeping patterns, reduce headaches and pain-related health problems, and reduce stress. Gardening also decreases anxiety, agitation, aggression, and behavior problems.There are other benefits to being in nature and gardening, like exercise and exposure to vitamin D from sunshine. These two improve bone density and counter depression. If we participate in gardening, we help both ourselves and the environment!

My fellow Lebanese, according to a news report issued on January 20, 2011, we rank NUMBER ONE worldwide in terms of consumption of anti-anxiety drugs. Looks like a little gardening could help! It goes without saying that gardening is not the end-all cure for psychiatric conditions. However, enjoying nature and gardening helps. Besides, it’s good for you even if you don’t have health conditions, anxiety-related or otherwise. It’s fun, inexpensive,  healthy, and improves the environment. Plants are natural “air cleansers”, and release oxygen into the air, which enhances its quality. Oxygen-rich air also helps one relax. When we garden we have fun, relax, reap the benefits of personal accomplishment, improve health, enjoy beautiful scenery, and have cleaner air. Gardening is the gift that keeps on giving.

I’m not suggesting that everyone has a mountain house with a backyard that is just ripe for the planting. But it is entirely possible to tend to a few plants on your balcony. Even that could impact your health, mind, (and the environment!) positively. We can do it, Lebanon!!!