Healthy soil invigorates our inner wellness

Posted by Aiden McRae on

Exposure to healthy soil is key to our mental and physical health 

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve had a stressful few weeks: maybe from the pressures of work, a family situation, a global pandemic, the uncertainty of our changing climate, or perhaps you just don’t feel quite like yourself. Many people have been shouldering heavy burdens, and our mental health has been tested to the limit. 

butterfly on orange flower

Now, imagine you walk outside into your garden. You gather your tools, kneel down, and start working the soil with your hands and breathe in its earthy mineral scent. It might take a little while, but your mind will slow down and begin to empty of thoughts, even if only for the time being. For northerners, puttering in a sunlit room full of plants can be just as nourishing to fill the time until we can get back to the garden. 

Jordan Mara, founder of Mind & Soil, describes his first real gardening experience that helped him to shift from a state of intense anxiety toward a journey of healing. He knew immediately that gardening would play an important role in his life, and became interested to “introduce that exact feeling and moment when gardening doesn’t just become about growing plants and vegetables, but it becomes about a meditative practice, a mindfulness practice, something to soothe the nervous system.” 

More and more people are awakening to the truth that gardening is a simple yet powerful way to slow down and quite literally come back to earth. This quiet phenomenon allows your muscles to relax, your heartbeat to slow down, and your mind to find ease. 

child barefeet on stump

At a deeper level, when our hands come in contact with the soil, and when we breathe in the healthy emanations from soil microorganisms, our bodies receive a healthy boost. Being active and spending time gardening outdoors are known to be excellent ways to maintain our fitness, but less widely discussed are these powerful benefits to our mental health. 


Explore our selection of beneficial microorganisms


MYKE vegetable and herb    Soil Activator             MYKE Tree and Shrub

Soil contains beneficial bacteria that can boost our mental wellness

The quiet yet life-changing experience of Jordan Mara’s is mirrored in many scientific studies about the stress-reducing microbes that we come in contact with when we are working with the soil. Mycobacterium vaccae in particular is a bacteria known to stimulate serotonin production, and has anti-inflammatory properties that act on the brain, which are essential factors for reducing both anxiety and depression. 

Professor Christopher Lowry, a leader in this field of study, has been exploring other healthy bacteria, and the potential to bring these benefits to veterans with PTSD and first responders who work in high-stress environments. He also encourages friends, and especially families to take time for gardening and camping–fun ways to get in contact with the soil and environment. He reminds that exposure to beneficial microbes from the soil and animals has been linked to boosting children’s immune systems, and reducing the risk of asthma and allergies over time. 

child gardening

For many of us, the fascinating science is not “news”—it confirms what we already knew. Gardening is a nourishing practice for the mind, body and spirit. The best part is that we have the ability to give back to the environment by practising regenerative agriculture, an approach to growing healthy food and plants in a way that regenerates environmental health

Our key takeaway: keep getting your hands dirty in the soil! Stay tuned for part two of this article: the soil-gut microbiome connection.



Mara, Jordan. Mind & Soil, ''How Gardening Helped My Mental Health'' Youtube video: https://www.mindandsoil.com/pages/about-us

All images Canva & Unsplash 

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