Get Dirty, Get Healthy

Healthy Summer tip: Get dirty, stress less. Planting a garden allows you to reconnect with Mother Earth. When life moves so fast you feel like your feet barely touch the ground, putting your hands in the soil provides 'grounding' while relieving physical and mental stress...

A recent study in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities.

After completing a stressful task, two groups of people were instructed to either read indoors or garden for 30 minutes. Afterward, the group that gardened reported being in a better mood than the reading group, and they also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

"We live in a society where we're just maxing ourselves out all the time in terms of paying attention," says Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D., a horticulture instructor and researcher in the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.