Firstly, the characteristics of occupation and the positive influence those characteristics have on human health and well-being are one of the reasons for considering the importance of occupation. Occupations are seen as essential by The Canadian Association of Occupation Therapists (CAOT) to people’s lives and classify occupation into three purposes, also known as occupational performance. These include: looking after themselves (self-care), enjoying life (leisure) and contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities (productivity) (CAOT, 2002). The divisions clearly show the significant role that occupation has in supporting people’s health and wellbeing generally as well as assisting recovery and their social participation. Similarly, this links to the description Molineux (2010, cited in Curtin, Molineux and Supyk-Mellson, 2010, p.19) provides of occupation and understands its nature as being of: actively engaged, having a purpose and meaning, contextualised and human characteristic. Each of the key characteristics encourages people to express and understand themselves through activities mattering to them, in which gives them a strong sense of their self. This can help to increase their self-esteem, confidence and happiness and decrease negativity, leading to improve their health and quality of life. Having that said, it can be presented through for example participating in leisure occupations, such as gardening.
Gardening is an instrumental activity of daily living (IADLs), however it is not limited and can come under other areas of occupation. Gardens, as well as the activity of gardening, have been shown to have a positive impact on peoples’ health and wellbeing (Garden Organic and Sustain, 2014) and as well, Soga, Gaston and Yamaura (2017) stated that there is increasing evidence that gardening provides substantial human health benefits. A recent case-control study had been undertaken by Wood, Pretty and Griffin (2015) based on allotment gardening and the benefits that this particular type of gardening brings to health and well-being. A mixture of allotment gardeners and non-gardeners during their sessions of allotment gardening were both observed on their self-esteem and mood and compared on their mental well-being. Results of the study declared that “paired t-tests revealed a significant improvement in self-esteem (P < 0.05) and mood (P < 0.001) as a result of one allotment session" (Wood, Pretty and Griffin, 2015), demonstrating the fast action that the gardening took to make a positive difference to the partakers wellbeing in such a short period of time. Wood, Pretty and Griffin (2015) as well declares; "one-way ANCOVA revealed that allotment gardeners had a significantly better self-esteem, total mood disturbance and general health (P < 0.001), experiencing less depression and fatigue and more vigour (P < 0.0083). The end result of this study is evident of how gardening promotes a sense of wellbeing and reduces stress as it incorporates most of the seven dimensions of wellness (Developed By Dr. Bill Hettler, Co-Founder Of et al., 2018). Not only does the activity contribute to wellness mentally and emotionally by reducing negative moods such as anxiety and sadness, but also physically as well as it encourages exercise and helps the body to reach to a more balanced state. Furthermore, it can be suggested that gardening is associated to environmental, social, spiritual, intellectual and occupational wellness. For instance, other types of gardening such as community gardening, as it hints in the name, helps in bringing communities all together. This indicates the opportunities that community gardening can provide for people to interact and socialise as well as share their knowledge about gardening with others. This can also lead to them raising environmental awareness.