Soil Makes You Happy!
The Anti-Depressant Right In Your Own Backyard
Whether due to a genetic predisposition, or to a difficult event or life season, anxiety and depression affect many people in America.
This makes a discovery from a recent study all the more interesting: Two prestigious UK universities found that a certain friendly bacteria in soil had the same behavioral effects as antidepressant medications when administered to laboratory mice!
This bacteria helps strengthen our immune system, alleviating inflammatory responses in the body, and it tricks also our brain into producing more mood-stabilizing serotonin. Not only this, but the mice showed increased learning ability, an effect that lasted for weeks afterwards.
Many gardeners will share that their plot of dirt and plants is a peaceful space where they can release the stress of life, and feel productive and happy as they engage with cultivating new life. While outside, gardeners inhale the bacteria in the soil, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a small cut or other pathway. It turns out that we’re not so different from our plants: needing sun, water, and yes- even dirt to thrive!