I have often wondered how my mood changes in a few minutes after working in the garden. I even wrote about it this past Wednesday. What is it that can change our downcast moods into a lighthearted, joyful attitude when we dig in the dirt?
Being in my first trimester, my mood has been somewhat down. I am tired and don’t feel very good most of the time. I am thankful and grateful for this pregnancy, but, let’s face it, those first few months in a pregnancy aren’t all a bed of roses!
Gardening has become my escape. I can’t explain it, but I am guessing that this is one of God’s wonderful ways for me to find His creation therapeutic, to find that peace within and be thankful for everything He has blessed me with.
And you know, I will always believe that, but, I also believe something that proves even more how therapeutic His dirt really is, scientifically speaking.
A few years ago, scientists have discovered that a certain good bacteria in the dirt, Mycobacterium vaccae, acts like an antidepressant when it is breathed in. This has been proven and tested on humans as well as mice. Interesting, huh?
M. vaccae helps release seratonin, which lowers anxiety and increases one’s mood. It has also been shown to increase cognitive thinking. Lack of seratonin is a major symptom of depression. Studies have been done on mice where they were either injected with or ingested the bacteria. The results were quite amazing as these mice, compared to the group that did not get M. vaccae, were quite happy little campers and showed less anxiety in the mazes and even while swimming (which they do not particularly like).
Positive results have been shown with cancer patience as well. Their moods were lifted considerably and cognitive functioning increased!
Have you ever walked outside after a rain and inhaled that clean wet soil? How does it make you feel? I know my senses are heightened and I feel just plain ole’ good!
So, go dig in the dirt this weekend and see for yourself. If you are feeling a little down in the dumps, go take a hike in the woods after a fresh rain, or weed your garden beds. Don’t feel like exerting yourself too much? How about just sitting in your garden and taking a few deep breaths.
After all, it is His dirt. I guess I really shouldn’t expect anything less!
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