Princeton study says this 1 activity makes you just as happy as dining out

Stuck in the city or suburbs? Tons of people are feeling upset right now. With restrictions tightening as we head into winter months, you might feel joyless at the thought of being stuck indoors or caged in the city.

You may not be able to dine out, but there’s another activity that brings just as much happiness. 

Gardening. (Although, if you’re from the Northeast, you may need to wait until the spring to do it). 

A Princeton study found that everyone, regardless of income or race, can benefit from growing vegetables or other plants at home.

Average happiness and meaningfulness ranked high for gardening when it was ranked against other activities people tend to do. Researchers found that the time and event, focusing on doing one thing like digging in the dirt improves happiness and satisfaction. There are a number of benefits to this one easy activity.

A few hundred survey participants from all walks of life reported their happiness levels on an app after doing a number of activities, including gardening, to researchers. This is what they discovered.

Gardening is good for everyone

Whether you live alone, or in a family, or a couple makes no difference when you go out to work with plants. Where you live doesn’t matter either, if you’re working in an urban garden in a city or your own private one. And your race, age or income don’t matter either. Everyone can enjoy gardening.

“Companionship while gardening at home, race/ethnicity, and urban versus suburban location showed no significant difference,” said the study. 

However, some benefited more. Women and low-income people found gardening to be a better activity to invest in than many others and provided benefits such as healthy food and community bonding.

Gardening builds good habits to replace bad habits

Gardening vegetables also get you away from other habits, like eating bad food at home, or not having a morning routine, and into watering, growing and other human needs you may not know you had. It gets you outside the house and into the world.

Gardening takes just a little bit of time to make you happy

Researchers compared gardening to other activities associated with happiness, like biking or dining out, and found that even though they only take a little over an hour a week, make people happier on average for a while afterward. 

Gardening is the most meaningful activity on average you can do

Gardening is, on average, one of the best things you can do to bring meaningfulness to your life. Going outside and planting tomatoes in a community garden or the backyard is a meaningful activity, it causes us to feel purpose.

It’s also an easy outdoor activity to do, pandemic or not, returning food for labor. It also burns a few calories, a nice activity if you are looking to boost your burn from short at-home workouts.

Growing a vegetable for yourself is even better

Growing a juicy tomato provides even more happiness for the average person who gardens, researchers noted.

The return on the labor provided many psychological benefits that the thrill of other activities, like a super-long bike ride, can’t provide.

Gardening is a safe activity, you’re not talking and spreading sickness or in close proximity. It’s just you and the dirt.