Cultivating Well-Being's program on the campus of Southern Maine Community College is a therapeutic horticulture initiative, designed to mitigate the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression, primarily among college students, though faculty and staff also participate. As humans get stressed, our ability to concentrate, for example, completing academic assignments. Our bodies are more likely to become ill. Cultivating Well-Being's program implements the Attention Restoration Theory (Kaplan and Kaplan) to increase the ability to focus and reduce stress. Sessions typically run for 1.5 hours. Special community-building sessions are also facilitated. Since Spring, 2022, participants have cultivated and harvested greens grown in the hydroponics system and delivered to the student food pantry, nourishing the SMCC community in mind, body, and spirit. (Photos of sessions may be viewed on the Gallery page.)
Some therapeutic outcomes:
Increase ability to focus/clarity of mind
Establish self-care awareness goals
Reduce feelings of isolation through social interactions
Acquire a positive sense of self
Improve mental health and overall wellness
Strategies to reduce the influence of stress, anxiety, and depression
"With 3 minutes of plant interaction, relaxation improved in college students."
Park, SA, C. Song, YA, Oh, Y Miyazaki, and KC Son. 2017. doi:10.3390/ijerph 14091087.