Pacific Clinics recently unveiled a therapy garden and meditation space at our Gish campus in San Jose, California, which was celebrated with a ribbon cutting. This new garden will provide a space for the children, adults and families we serve to practice reflection, meditation and coping skills to help them better manage their mental health challenges.
The garden, which will be used for therapeutic sessions, is a space where clients can engage with the plants, such as jasmine and lavender, and use touch or smell as a sensory coping skill. There is also a meditation area with a cascading fountain, a walking path, bamboo wind chimes and benches for clients to reflect, breathe in the fresh air around them and work on achieving better overall health and wellness.
“Many of our clients shared they struggle to get out of the house and engage with nature because their families do not have the financial means, or they live in an apartment where spaces are tight with no backyard,” said Clinical Director Duyen Pham. “Due to these challenges, they continue to struggle with mental health challenges such as anxiety, low self-esteem, isolation and depression.”
In one study, researchers Marcus and Barnes found that more than two-thirds of people choose a natural setting to retreat to when they feel stressed and 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside. Another study from the University of Minnesota showed that after a stressful event, images of nature very quickly produce a calming effect. Within three to four minutes after viewing nature scenes, blood pressure, respiration rate, brain activity and the production of stress hormones all decrease, and one’s overall mood improves. There is also a link between nature and human spirituality wherein being in nature allows us to see and feel how we are connected to entities beyond ourselves. This allows us to understand and realize that our issues might not be as big as we think them to be.
We owe a debt of gratitude to J.M. Johnson Construction, as well as Yamagami’s Garden Center and the Cupertino Rotary, whose generous donations and support with planting everything in the garden helped to bring our vision to life.