Modern life is complex and stressful. The AMA lists stress as one of the leading causal factors for over 60% of adults’ health problems. Do modern problems need modern solutions though? Evidence from the Psychology of Health and Wellbeing suggests that the answer is no. The purpose of this project is to explain how the Art of Gardening is good for our souls and to help you get started on remedying modern stressors with an age-old practice of cultivation. When you cultivate the earth, you additionally cultivate yourself. In the project that follows, you will learn why and how to start shaping your ecocentric identity. The goal of psychology as a field is to provide the tools in which to create a happier society. As psychologists, it is our responsibility to provide research designed to lift up the quality of living for individuals and communities. We do this by showing how elements of both our environments and our shared psychology contribute to quality of life. We highlight environmental maladaptions that lead to suffering so that we may avoid them and we set the framework for building a better one. Research reaches the public through either self-help media or wise interventions. Self-help provides individuals with ways in which they can improve themselves while wise interventions aim to change people’s perspectives of their situation and/or the environment in which they live. Gardening is an excellent example of both of these, as it can be used as either a wise intervention or a self-help method. When people garden, they are engaging with their environment and cultivating an ecocentric identity. Using the Self-Memory System (SMS), we can see how one might create a gardener’s identity using both their past experiences of gardening and engaging in the present moment with a gardener’s mindset. As people engage further with gardening, their language will change as they learn more about how their actions impact their environment. As their linguistic habits change to reflect a more ecocentric identity, their overall well-being and health will improve. Cultivating an ecocentric identity will cause gardeners to develop a growth mindset and biophilic habits, directly increasing their wellbeing. Lastly, gardening engages the executive functions of the brain, especially when done mindfully. This practice will have a direct beneficial effect on the gardener’s social and professional life as well as their overall wellbeing.
Recentering your identity with nature: A mindful guide to cultivating ecocentrism by Xandre Couchot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.