You got passed over for that promotion. Your dog’s got the best coat around, after your daughter “washed” Harry Pawter with your bottle of Augustinus Bader’s Rich Cream. The chicken won’t be thawed in time for dinner. It’s been a day, and in a moment of fury, you yell: “I’m just so angry, I could—why, I could—plant a whole row of tomatoes and basil!” OK, so that’s probably the last thing you’d ever shout…but maybe it should be. Rage gardening—the act of channeling your frustrations into caring for your plants—has become one of the most surprising trends to take off during the pandemic. And it could be a great way to recenter yourself after a long day, week…or 16-months-and-counting pandemic.
The trend itself isn’t new; blogger Kathryn Leehane wrote about her newfound interest in rage gardening back in 2016, and long before that (in the 19th century, in fact), Dr. Benjamin Rush launched the study of horticultural therapy after sharing how gardening positively impacted people with mental illnesses. All that weeding, planting and watering has been linked to reduced anxiety and depression, as well as a way to boost mindfulness. (Furthermore, a June 2021 survey of 1,015 people found that two-thirds felt happier after gardening.) One theory behind this is that the act of gardening taps into what’s known as “fascination attention,” being so focused on a hobby that it gives our brains a chance to unwind.
“Gardening, of course, calms one’s mind, making it the perfect counterpoint to rage,” Dr. Bryan Bruno of MidCity TMS, a medical center that focuses on treating depression, told Realtor.com. It “requires you to engage completely, both physically and mentally.”
Curious about giving it a try? The next time you’re feeling furious, try these easy rage gardening activities.