The therapeutic benefits of gardening and getting your hands in the soil
Studies have shown that gardening really is therapeutic. It has been found that there are compounds in the soil that, when they strike the olfactory senses, trigger a stress-relieving relaxation response in human beings. This makes sense, since we have spent ten thousand years digging in the soil, and associating the scent of the earth with food, home, hearth, abundance and well-being.
Direct experience confirms the research. Planting two fruit trees late this afternoon, one plum and one cherry tree, as the golden light of the setting sun falls happily across the garden and the creek sings with joy, I dig two holes, and the scent of the earth fills my nostrils; and almost immediately, the stress of the day begins to fade away, and a deep relaxation and peace begins to emerge.
Simple joys. These things make life worth living.
J. Todd Ring, October 8, 2013