Healing gardens help refresh mind and spirit
Being with nature is a powerful way to refresh body, mind and spirit. Connecting with nature–in the city or country, small space or large natural landscape—helps people better cope with the stresses of everyday living. The Healing Gardens at Legacy Health’s medical centers are popular spaces for visitors, patients and employees.
Legacy Mount Hood team lead Kim Tarsia works in an office with no natural light. She seeks the renewing power of nature and makes regular use of the hospital’s healing garden. “It’s a place that I visit to clear my mind, to be surrounded by the garden’s beauty, and to put things in perspective,” said Tarsia. “The garden is such a peaceful place and the perfect antidote from the stress in a hospital environment.”
Kim Vaylon, a supervisor at Legacy Mount Hood, treasures her visits to the healing garden to take a break from a busy clinical environment. “There are days where things just pile up and you need to get away to find a calmer place to better handle the challenges at hand,” she said. “Sitting in the garden, taking in the beauty, and listening to the birds has a calming effect and clears my mind.”
Research shows the power of the natural environment to foster psychological well-being and help people reduce stress and better cope with illness. “Nature helps people boost their resilience and do better in their recovery process,” said Teresia Hazen, Legacy Health’s healing garden manager.
Tarsia has watched the powerful affect that healing gardens have on families and patients. “I’ve talked with many patients and family members in Legacy’s healing gardens who are dealing with a health crisis,” she said. “They say again and again how much they appreciate the gardens and the ability to get a break from the intensity of hospital and their illness.”
The soothing power of the healing garden helps Tarsia better manage health challenges in her family. “I’m a baby boomer with an elderly mother who has complex health and lifestyle needs,” said Tarsia. “Having access to the healing garden at work and my personal garden at home helps me have a positive mindset and gives me energy to be a compassionate caretaker for my mother.