Did you know that playing in the dirt makes you happy?
It is true what they say, gardeners really are the happiest people. Microbes found in soil are said to have a similar effect on the brain as Prozac, without the nasty chemical side effects.
The bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. As we garden we inhale this bacterium or it gets topically absorbed through our skin and it travels to our bloodstream. Studies are beginning to show that by simply playing in the dirt serotonin may be released which helps with depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and more. Though as gardeners we know how happy we are when working in the garden, it is interesting to know there is some scientific evidence behind it.
The physical act of gardening is a stress reducer simply because we are outside enjoying the fresh air and doing physical activity.
Now, we are learning that there are mental benefits as well. Studies are being conducted to check the effects on cognitive function, rheumatoid arthritis and even Crohns disease. A group of cancer patients took part in a study in which gardening was a daily activity, and all reported a better quality of living afterwards.
The next time you are having a rough day, get out there and play in the dirt, it will do wonders for you. Gardening really is a magical thing – science says so!