The Well-Gardened Mind & the Power of Gardening, Creativity & a Future Looking Perspective with Dr. Sue Stuart-Smith

Dr. Sue Stuart-Smith is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and author of The Well-Gardened Mind, the British Sunday Times Bestseller 2020 and Gardening book of the year. In it, she analyses the relationship between gardening and mental health. Wonderfully, Sue reads this book herself as an audiobook, sharing, amongst so many other things, the importance and benefits of cultivating robust relationships in life; and how, like gardening, cultivating relationships requires much care and attention. Join us to hear how the positive anticipation of gardening is such a benefit for our mental and physical health.

Today, Sue joins me to talk about why she’s passionate about nature and gardens. We discuss the idea of nature as medicine, and Sue presents nature as the antithesis of daily distractions. We talk about the benefits of exercising in nature instead of indoors. Sue discusses the left and right hemispheres of the brain, explaining why an outdoor activity is so beneficial for overall brain functioning. She talks about the power of indoor plants, we talk about the need for self-kindness, and we discuss the fact that, like life, every garden has weeds, and that’s okay. Sue emphasises the change that takes place in a garden, explaining why this brings novelty into life, and she notes a garden’s ability to provide positive anticipation of the future, something that everyone needs.

“That’s terribly important for our mental health, being able to have a sense of positive anticipation about things in life.”
– Dr. Sue Stuart-Smith

This week on In the Doctor’s Chair

  • Nature as medicine
  • Nature as the antithesis of distractions
  • The benefits of exercising in nature instead of indoors
  • The left and right hemispheres of the brain
  • Self-kindness
  • The power of future anticipation
  • The power of patience

Resources Mentioned:


In the Doctor’s Chair

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