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The Secret of Bonsai Therapy for Moms

Let’s not beat around the bush, so to speak. As mothers, we deal with daily stress, whether at home or in the office, or both. It’s challenging to find the right balance with everything we need to cover, nevermind finding that fabled peace of mind.

A few years ago, someone introduce me to bonsai trees, which I took up as a hobby. With this small object needing so much care, I wondered how I would fit it into my daily routines. Little did I know I would learn the secret of bonsai therapy and how much it would benefit my health, mentally and physically.

What is Bonsai Therapy?

There are few words that can precisely describe those moments you feel lost in time when bonding with a bonsai tree. It may feel like a waste of time for many mothers who have so much on their plates. However, just take a moment to focus on that small tree, and suddenly you’ll realize that nothing else matters.

This is the art of bonsai therapy, when they say that having a bonsai is incredibly therapeutic. There’s a specific impact it has on your health. Whether you’re feeling sick or stressed, you’ll be surprised by the effect it has on you. Sure, it won’t replace modern medicine, but at that moment, it feels like your troubles have vanished.

The Healing Properties of Bonsai Therapy

The World Health Organization describes health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It’s when every aspect of your being is at peace and you don’t have a concern in the world. How many of you can say you’ve felt completely healthy in the last few years?

Have you ever painted a picture or worked on a novel? For those moments of intense concentration, how often did you think about your problems? If you’re concentrating on the project as well as you should, you’ll awaken afterward and realize you went to a completely different world.

The same applies when caring for a bonsai tree. You become so wrapped in staring at the leaves and branches, seeing which ones you want to remove, deciding how to shape the foliage…those few moments are bliss when you’re thinking about nothing else.

Yes, you’ll have to return to the real world eventually. However, having some reprieve from the stress and anxiety is good for you, if only for a few minutes. It gives your brain and spirit some time to reset, possibly giving you the courage to take on all your problems.

Expression in Art

Some of us work in environments where we don’t get to be creative. There’s something to be said about intellectual expression in art. We’re free to release our anxiety in a new, healthy way. Instead of shouting at others or losing our cool, we can go tend to our bonsais. 

Have you seen how stunning these small trees look on the internet or on social media platforms like Instagram? There are so many styles you can grow them in, and the only limit is your mind. Well, also, how much patience you have.

It can take several years or decades to achieve a masterpiece in your bonsai. Yet, that’s part of the therapy. Instead of whipping up a piece of art in an hour, you’ll spend many years developing and sculpting your small tree in various phases. It’s a live sculpture and testament to the discipline inside you.

The Science Behind It

Still not convinced? Maybe you need a scientific approach. Firstly, let’s look at the biological applications and their impact on health. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen during the gaseous exchange process. Just spending enough time with a bonsai’s foliage already gives you a breath of fresh air; literally.

Then there’s the meditative measure of time while grooming and shaping your bonsai. You’re calm and making slow motions when dealing with the branches, leaves, and flowers. All of this activity helps in reducing stress and blood pressure, as was found in a study performed in 2018.

Let’s look at it from another perspective. Helping and caring for others is a form of therapy that brings joy to our hearts, especially when appreciated. When you look after your bonsai the right way, it will respond by developing new leaves, flowers, and fruit. It’s that connection with your small tree that shines a new light in your life among all the turmoil.

Feng Shui and Philosophical Applications

There are also some spiritual applications when caring for a bonsai. One of the most popular ones is Feng Shui, especially when it comes to the Money Tree. The philosophy focuses on bringing peace and harmony into your home, which bonsai trees aid with. It’s specifically essential when you consider how mental stress can impact your physical health.

Feng Shui looks at the arrangement of items in the home, promoting the flow of energy known as Qi. The five elements presented in this system are water, wood, earth, fire, and metal. These are all aspects you usually find in a house in some form or another. The belief is that arranging objects the right way can boost energy and promote harmony.

The Money Tree is one of the bonsais believed to fit into the Feng Shui philosophy. When placed in the right location in your home, they said it will help bring peace and fortune. 

Of course, there are other systems that also deal with the five elements of water, earth, fire, air, and spirit. The bonsai has all of these if you pay close attention. The earth is the soil and tree itself, while it needs air for the exchange of gases. You supply it with water, but there’s also moisture in the air it needs. The fire is in the sunlight and the process of photosynthesis. Finally, you’ll find spirit in the energy you share with it when you’re bonding with your small tree.

The Use of Bonsais in Group Therapy

I’m sure many of you have been to mom’s groups at some point in your parenthood. While there are many that simply spend time venting and complaining, others are actively trying to help each other. Once you also discover the secret of bonsai therapy and feel the energy it provides, you should share it with the others.

You can even donate some bonsais to the group or invite them to your inner sanctum. You’d be surprised how wonderful it feels to tend to the small trees as a group, especially when everyone can feel the benefits. 

If you want an enhanced experience, suggest a trip to a park, forest, or field with trees. Just take a moment to savor the connection with nature. Breathe in the fresh air or have a few laughs with the group.

The key point I want to make is that you can bring that moment home with you. Once you learn how to propagate trees from cuttings or seeds, there’s no reason you can’t grow a group bonsai with the team. Another option is simply taking cuttings home for yourself.

There’s another group you need to think of: your family. There are valuable lessons children can learn from caring for bonsais, and you and your husband will love the precious moments of raising a small tree together. You can even make that the time you get together as quality time talking about what’s bothering you.

Other Benefits of Working With Bonsais

I don’t know how many of you will agree, but I’m a mother that often runs out of patience. With homeschooling as one of my daily tasks, I become frustrated when my children don’t grasp some topics quickly enough. I don’t realize that my impatience isn’t helping the matter. 

When you’re working with bonsais, you learn to develop such patience. You can’t make the tree grow any faster than it is, so all you can do is care for it while you wait. I can honestly say that these small trees have taught me to take the same breath when it comes to other aspects of my life.

I’ve also seen how valuable it is to take a moment for myself, even when I feel like I can’t spare the time. If I don’t water my bonsais daily in summer, they’ll start to die, so they rely on me to care for them. In exchange, I have that moment to just relax and think about nothing else.

Being a mother, wife, daily content writer, and project manager, those moments are precious. It forces me from the pressures of work and life and wakes me up to the fact that my body and mind need to unwind, even if just for ten minutes. You may be able to skip that alarm on your phone that tells you to meditate, but your small tree calls for your attention in a way you can’t ignore.

From Mother Nature to Fellow Mothers

Bonsai therapy appeared to me at a time when I really thought I didn’t have time for anything else. I saw my first ficus bonsai in my local store. I’m not sure what came over me, but I wanted that small tree in my home on my home office desk.

It’s made such a massive difference in my life that even my closest friends can tell I’ve changed. While I still have all my duties, there’s a new sense of calm when I take them on. Mother Nature certainly is the best teacher of them all.

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