• Is gardening making older generations mentally happier than their younger counterparts?

    June 27th 2017. Posted in Insurance

    • Fifty per cent of people said they’ve seen an improvement in their happiness after taking up gardening, while 44 per cent said it helps them relax and reduce anxiety. A further 42 per cent reported an overall improvement in their psychological health1
    • Young people are less likely to take part in activities that improve mental health according to the Mental Health Foundation2, however 70 per cent of 18-34 year olds experience mental health problems compared to 58 per cent of those over 55
    • Older generations claim that gardening has taught them about their mental health (40 per cent), physical health (46 per cent) and the importance of being outside (58 per cent)

     

    27 June 2017: Following its sponsorship of the Grand Shed Project at this year’s Grand Designs Live, AXA Insurance is highlighting the psychological benefits of gardening, with 50 per cent of gardeners reporting an improvement in their happiness after taking up the hobby. Forty-four per cent said that gardening also helps them relax and reduces anxiety, whilst 42 per cent reported an overall improvement in their psychological health.

    However, young people in particular are neglecting the benefits of gardening, with previous research showing only 25 per cent of 18-34 year olds are green-fingered compared to 55 per cent of over 55s3. With the Mental Health Foundation reporting that those between the ages of 18 and 34 are significantly more likely to say they have experienced a mental health problem compared to those over 55 (70 per cent vs. 58 per cent), young people could benefit hugely from the psychological rewards of gardening.

    Why aren’t young people gardening?

    Eleven per cent of gardeners said young people don’t take up gardening as a hobby because they don’t have access to a garden; however 13 per cent believe that as a group, young people are starting to become more interested in the hobby. The issue is that young people are less likely to take part in activities that improve mental health according to the Mental Health Foundation.


    Only 58 per cent of 18-34 year olds spend time on hobbies such as music, art, reading or crosswords to help them feel more positive or deal better with everyday life, compared to 73 per cent of over 55s. When it comes to working on their gardens, those aged 55 and over spend 12 hours a month outside, compared to five hours a month for 18-24 year olds – almost two thirds less time.

    Instead, young people spend more of their time online, with 26 per cent claiming gaming or coding is their main hobby. In contrast, only 5 per cent of over 55s practice gaming as their main hobby.

    The emotional wealth of gardening

    By spending less time playing games and more time in the garden, young people could see a marked improvement in their mental health. Currently, only 20 per cent of young people have learned about their mental health from gardening, half the amount reported by those aged 55 and over. Older generations also claim that gardening has taught them more about the importance of being outside (58 per cent), their physical health (46 per cent) and the benefits of hobbies as a whole (40 per cent).

    When asked the same, only 32 per cent of 18-24 year olds said that gardening has taught them the importance of being outside, and only 18 per cent have learnt about their physical health and 20 per cent about the benefits of hobbies as a whole.

    Gareth Howell, Managing Director of AXA Insurance, comments: “When it comes to mental health and taking part in activities that improve our physical and mental well-being, young people could definitely learn a thing or two from the older generations. Gardening isn’t just about planting flowers and mowing the lawn; it’s actually an extremely healthy pastime that could ultimately improve many people’s lives.

    “The fact that gardening can help reduce stress, improve physical fitness and get us back to nature is amazing when you think about it. Even a few hours a week could help all of us see a marked improvement in our health, and when you take into consideration that young people today are experiencing more psychological issues than ever, it offers a simple way for them to take positive steps towards improving their mental health.”

    For a range of easy tasks to try in your garden, visit: http://www.axa.co.uk/help-and-advice/my-home/quirky-design-ideas-for-smaller-gardens/
    Media Contacts 
    Notes for Editors 
    1. Figures obtained from research commissioned by AXA of 2000 UK adults who have a garden and have gardened. The research was carried out by OnePoll in May 2017.
    2. Figures obtained from the Mental Health Foundation, Surviving or Thriving? The state of the UK’s mental health: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/surviving-or-thriving-state-uk-mental-health.pdf
    3. Figures obtained from research commissioned by AXA of 2000 UK adults. The research was carried out by Opinium in May 2016.

    Enquiries

    Rebecca D’Cunha, 07775 014 987 – rebecca.dcunha@axa-insurance.co.uk

     

    About AXA

     

    The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 166,000 employees serving 107 million clients in 64 countries. In 2016, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 100.2 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.7 billion. AXA had Euro 1,429 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2016. In 2016 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 8th consecutive year.

    In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Insurance, AXA PPP healthcare and AXA Ireland. AXA employs over 10,000 staff in the UK.

    The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

    The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

    It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.