Summer Outdoor Ritual Series, Part 2: Playing in the Dirt

Welcome back to week two of our Summer Outdoor Ritual series. Last week we focused on getting grounded. This week, we will move from getting our feet dirty to getting our hands dirty.


Dirt = Happiness

One of the easiest ways to take in the benefits of being outdoors is by getting our hands in the dirt. Soil has beneficial microbes that have been shown to boost our mood. Digging in the dirt really can make us happier.  Even the feel of soil between our palms brings us back to childhood wonder, exploring our world in a tactile and playful way.


Play in the Dirt

Gardening in good soil microbes a woman planting a small plant in dusty soil

Gardening is one of my favorite ways to spend time outside and get my hands in the soil. Tending to an outdoor garden or a jungle of houseplants brings not only plant positivity but also an opportunity to work in the soil. When potting or repotting plants, tilling your veggie garden, even pulling weeds – focus on skin to dirt contact.  As a weekly ritual, gently run your fingers through the soil as you water your plants.


Keep Playing

Other Rituals to Consider:

  • Simply holding handfuls of soil during your next outdoor adventure
  • Create a dirt sandcastle
  • Rake the dirt into soothing patterns as if it’s your own little Zen garden (use a little rake, a found stick, or even your fingers!)


Each of these can function as a “walking mediation” or mindfulness exercise. Quiet your mind and focus on the texture of the soil—what it feels like in hand and how you feel after your playtime.

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