Gardening Cures Depression!


In a article titled “Is Dirt the New Prozac?“, Discover Magazine summarizes for us non-scientists a research study headed by Dr, Christopher Lowery, that may explain it feels so GOOD to work in the garden. My post title aside, being outside may not be a true cure for depression, but apparently it helps. The study showed a common soil bacterium, that we inhale when digging in the dirt, activates the serotonin releasing neurons in our brain. I always knew that I felt great when outdoors and active, now I know why! I seems you can get a healthy, (literally), dose of Mycobacterium vaccae when hiking, gardening, or taking part in almost any outdoor activity that involves kicking up a little dirt.

The article goes on to discuss how the discovery could add to our knowledge of the biological causes of depression, asthma, and inflammatory disorders in general. I had the thought that our positive biological response to this organism may be coded into our bodies as a means of survival. Back when most people grew and harvested their own food, there would have been a real survival benefit for people who worked the earth. I have often joked that I have the “farmer gene”. Now I wonder is some of us are indeed

I would take the time to further summarize the findings of the study, but I really need to get started on some overdue weeding in the vegetable garden.

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Will Sig
1 Sarah Andrade

Very useful information was found here, thank you for your work.


2 Depression Blog

It is great to know there is a scientific link between it – I now have an excuse for spending hours in the garden!

Depression Blogs last blog post..Advice With Focusing On Your Fears


3 Vertigo Guy

I personally find gardening to be an excellent way to get rid of stress, and take my mind off of whatever I’m thinking about. I just need to get someone to water all my plants when I take a vacation. 🙂

Vertigo Guys last blog post..My vestibular loss is bilateral, not unilateral.


4 Jagad Guru Chris Butler

I really like gardening too. It’s just great to be with nature and watching things grow. It just gets my back sometimes when I dig up a heap load of things.

Jagad Guru Chris Butlers last blog post.."Buddhists are not Hedonists" by Jagad Guru Chris Butler


5 Jade Bonsai Tree

Interesting article for sure. I never would have thought that dirt had a chemical in it that actually changed the way we felt.

I always remember going out when I was younger with my grandma and would help her plant and what not. It was quite enjoyable not only because I was spending time with my grandma but because I was outside. It’s just something about the air that makes it so relaxing.

Plus the joy of getting to play with dirt when I was younger was always fun as you could imagine.


6 Depressed Man

I’ve tried everything else, may as well give gardening a shot. I suppose the extra sun and exercise could give me a bit of a boost…


7 Anna

Will I know this was posted long time ago. But I tell you I came outside this weekend to clean up backyard as Dom was watching the baby – boy I felt good! I love gardening, and I miss it so much, too bad I had to do clean up instead of start up….lol. Anna 🙂

Annas last blog post..What’s on the Far Side of the Moon?


8 Steve

Hey Will,
AWESOME post! Thanks for making my day! Now I know why I love gardening so much. It’s breathing the dirt! And I though it was just the mouth-water fresh tomatoes that were my reward. I think I’ll head out and breath a little dirt right now! ~ Steve

Steves last blog post..Watch This Video Or Else…


9 Will

You are welcome, Steve! This also probably explains why the happiest kids are usually the ones outside getting dirty.


10 Cool Garden Things

Huh…I do garden maintenance and while I get tired of it by the end of the year… I do feel a need to smell that dirt smell within a few weeks of the snow covering it all. A good addiction in my opinion!
.-= Cool Garden Things´s last blog ..Great Ground Cover Suggestions For A Northern Garden =-.


11 Growing Vegetables

Neat-0! When I first read the title, I thought it was going to be due to the physical activity releasing dopamine. I better keep up with my garden! 😛


12 Seed Parade Gardening

Nice, I never heard of that. Many many gardeners do enjoy a long life that is for sure. The pensioners down the allotment just do not want to give up, many of them over 80 and still diggin 🙂 serotonin does wonders


13 Keith Martin

When I first read the title of this article I thought to myself “yeah right”, but after reading the article the title makes perfect sense.

I always feel better after being outside in the dirt whether it is in the garden or after a 30 minute jog or just a nice walk. Who knew it was the dirt all along that was helping me to feel better?

Thanks for sharing

Keith Martin


14 jnrb

I always thought that gardening was my therapy, now I know why. I wonder if there are higher levels in some types of soils than others? Sandy soils lose nutrients quickly, whereas clay type soils retain them all locked up? Who knows?
Its certainly interesting reading though I do wonder if just being outdoors helps anyway?We all need a mood lift sometimes..


15 Keith

Someone who I consider to be a wise man once told me that to beat mild depression, take off your shoes, go the garden and wiggle your toes in the dirt. So it turns out that there is a scientific reason that his advice was accurate.
Another reason for this is that when exercising or working outdoors, you breathe deeper and, usually, are breathing better quality air.

And, of course, the sense of accomplishment in immeasurable for self-esteem.


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