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Marek Struszczyk

Co-Founder ManagerUp

Last modified: June 8th, 2023

Can executives, managers, and entrepreneurs benefit from gardening?


I can confirm it as gardening makes me happy. For me, gardening is the secret to good mood and high productivity.

On the internet I found this pertinent proverb:

“If you want to be happy for a day – get drunk, if you want to be happy for a month, get married, if you want to be happy forever, build a garden.” 

Some people say that the proverb is Chinese, and some say it is Dutch. 

For a long time I thought I was a weird guy, and probably the only executive who likes digging in the weeds, but then one day I realized that my feeling of happiness while spending some time moving the soil is actually backed by science.

Are you curious?

Let’s have a deeper look.


Get Your Hands Dirty for Happiness and Productivity

Often after a long working day, I am mentally drained. I am sure it happens to you, too. When the day has been really hard, I come home full of negative feelings and low self-esteem.

In such moments, gardening is my solution. I get my hands dirty, and suddenly, I start feeling better.

Do you think I have some magic soil?

I do! But you have it, too!

Science has discovered that working with soil is beneficial to your health and happiness. The reason is the soil bacterium, mycobacterium vaccae.  These microscopic bacteria enter into your body when you touch the soil.

The bacteria triggers serotonin and dopamine production, both chemicals that produce a feeling of happiness. By the way, they are chemicals normally present in antidepressant medication.

No doubt there are studies confirming that gardening improves general well-being. As a matter of fact, it is recommended to patients suffering from depression.

Isn´t it amazing? 

Your own garden can naturally trigger the production of anti-depressives! So get your hands dirty, be happy, and get ready for the next tough office day.

These ‘friendly creatures’ also improve the immune system, and many scientists believe that our modern society would benefit from working with soil to ward off instances of asthma, allergies, and other illnesses.

But digging in the earth is not the only reason why gardening makes me happy.


Emotional Well-being While Gathering Herbs From the Garden

Not only does digging in the soil increase dopamine production. Another way to get an additional shot of the happiness hormone is by observing flowers, fruits, and herbs growing in the garden.

After working a whole day in the office, I am often tired. So I take a walk in my garden and smell the herbs and flowers. Sometimes I pick the fragrant, fresh herbs for dinner. It is so relaxing!

Science has confirmed that even just looking at flowers or other organic products or picking herbs stimulates dopamine release in your brain.

By the way, you can get a similar benefit if you buy a few beautiful plants for your office. It will not only make you happy, but it will also do wonders for your creativity and productivity.

When your dopamine level is high, you start feeling the same way as when you get a bonus or receive positive feedback from a colleague – elated!

The fringe benefit is that dopamine reduces work stress too!

So what are you waiting for? After a tiring office day, just go to your garden and simply appreciate your plants.

Are you curious to learn more about why gardening makes me happy?


Take Your Beneficial Sunlight and Vitamin D in the Garden

Did you know that individuals who work outside are, in general, happier than those who need to work inside?

Yes, they are happier although they probably earn much less money!

The main reason is the sun.

Although many health care professionals suggest avoiding too much sun, not getting any can also be detrimental to your health and… happiness. The sun stimulates your body to produce vitamin D, one of the most important vitamins. This is why it is often called the sunshine vitamin.

A lack of vitamin D is one of the possible causes of depression. If you want to be happy, make sure you get enough of it.

A pilot study by Dr. Fatme Al Anouti, an assistant professor at Zayed University’s College of sustainability sciences and humanities in Abu Dhabi, confirms that time in the sun reduces depression.

Another study says that sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, which, as mentioned, triggers a feeling of happiness.

If, like most busy professionals, you spend the whole day inside a building with very little sun exposure, then you need to spend more time in your garden!


Breathing in Fresh Air in the Garden

The vast majority of us work in closed workplaces with air conditioners circulating stale air. This can be a health risk if you don’t make an effort to get some natural air whenever you can.

The benefits of breathing fresh air in the garden are astounding. It can help you digest food better, improve your blood pressure, and even help fight obesity!

But does fresh air make you happy?

It does!

The mechanism is very simple. The more fresh air you breathe in, the more oxygen circulates in your blood. And logically, more oxygen triggers more serotonin.  And serotonin makes you happy!



Spending time in your garden after a hard office day is a powerful strategy for being happier, having less stress, and enjoying higher productivity. It does not matter if you dig in the soil, smell the flowers, or simply enjoy the sun and fresh air. Gardening makes me happy, and it will make you happy too! It will increase your energy level and, importantly, the relation between gardening and happiness is backed by science.

Make sure that spending time in your green oasis is on your daily “to-do list.” Share your experience with us. We are looking forward to seeing your comments below.


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