I’ve been on a really big kick of adding more and more plants to our apartment. In fact, my husband went so far as to joke that soon we’d have no place to live if I continued adding plants at the rate I’ve been going!
As much as I love plants for their beauty and their air cleaning properties, I think I enjoy the act of planting and repotting them even more.
There is something incredibly relaxing and soothing about shutting your brain off for a couple hours and getting full on dirty with soil, a la 5 year old style.
Not surprisingly, a lot of research has been done on the human connection of our environmental surroundings and how we are impacted in our modern lives.
This really interesting article by The Wellness Mama goes into a lot of great detail, but here’s a direct quote to get you started:
“In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma.”
As you can see, there are plenty of physical ways that interacting with dirt helps us out.
But the mental and emotional benefits are even more interesting to me. Connecting with nature through direct physical contact allows us to naturally tap into the Here and Now. By that, I mean it becomes significantly easier to enjoy and accept what is happening in your life…without being consumed by thoughts that are worrying about the past or feeling anxious about the future.
Modern lives are much more cerebral than they used to be. We spend a lot of time being busy THINKING but we do a lot less work with our hands than the humans that came before us.
By using your body to accomplish a meaningful task like repotting your plants or doing a yard project, we tap into the parts of our brains that need the change of scenery from our normal day to day world.
You can think of it as Crossfit for your brain!
I highly recommend doing some sort of playing in the dirt on a consistent basis.
Kids are naturally very good at doing this. You can observe them just poking around, not doing really much of anything while enjoying the present moment. If you have kids, use this as a reminder to get involved with them!
I’ve started weeding my side yard after work a couple times a month. Or I’ll even simply go sit in my yard and play with the dirt while I listen to some music or just sit quietly. None of it is very fancy and it really doesn’t have to be.
We’ve been so conditioned to avoid fluctuations in our surroundings that we tend to avoid going outside altogether unless the weather is “perfect”. Our bodies were build to respond and thrive in a variety of climates. So if it’s drizzling out, throw on a raincoat and go outside anyways. Super windy? Layer up and get on out there. Too hot? Grab some cold water, throw on your bathing suit, and go nuts. The point is the same: humans are still animals and animals need to commune with the environment.
Some people will make the argument that it’s not worth the hassle because going outside makes you vulnerable to a lot of chemicals in our modern environments. And they have a point.
However, we believe it’s better to support your natural detox functions via a whole food, lifestyle, and detox tools approach and still get outside. By making your body optimized to handle anything your world throws at you through a variety of supportive tools, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds…and feel better for it!
Alright, go forth and get dirty!
It’s good for you in a physical, mental, and emotional way…and it’s totally free 🙂