The Garden Method for Community Wellbeing

A science-based, peer-to-peer intervention that aims to prevent the impact of extreme or chronic stress and strengthen resilience.

Why is it called the “Garden Method?”

Caring for mental health is much like tending a garden.

A garden can grow on its own, but it can also flourish with a bit of extra care.

Storms and drought can destroy a harvest, but with enough effort and help from friends, a garden can recover.

What other parallels do you see?

The Garden Method builds on “what is already working well” by enabling people to:

  • take action under challenging conditions that threaten good health and wellbeing.
  • use accessible, science-based knowledge & skills to protect wellbeing and build resilience
  • cultivate helpful relationships, places, activities and beliefs that have a positive impact on our health – much like tending to a garden!

After learning the Garden Method, you will know how to use:

  • 7 Biology basics that teach how our bodies respond to stress and wellbeing
  • 5 Techniques that activate the body’s natural ability to recover from stress
  • And most importantly: how to utilize this simple skillset to enhance what you are already doing to care for yourself and others.

How does the Garden Method work?

The Garden Method is rooted in brain science, social neuroscience and developmental psychology. It aims to enhance the ability to “know our own hearts”, or: to differentiate between sensations in the body that are pleasant, unpleasant and neutral.

In social neuroscience, this ability is called “interoceptive awareness”. Interoception happens naturally. It helps the body respond to stress and wellbeing. For example with a faster heartbeat, slower breathing or tenser muscles. Most of the time, we hardly notice these  “interceptive signals”. But sometimes we become aware of  “butterflies in our stomachs” or a “warm feeling in our hearts”; these are called sensations. 

The Garden Method helps people utilize interoceptive awareness to regulate stress. As we all know, focusing attention on an itch or a pain will usually intensify it. But what if we focus attention on a sensation that is pleasant or neutral? Doing this is like watering the vegetables and flowers in a garden: by paying special attention to them, we can encourage them to grow and thrive. If we do so often enough, they can provide a source of nourishment that can balance out the costs of extreme or chronic stress.

Would you like to know more?

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