Well, there’s a surprise. Apparently there’s now scientific evidence to support the idea that gardening really does make you feel happier. Dr Heather Hendrickson, senior lecturer in molecular bioscience at Massey University, an expert in the evolution of bacteria, said in an interview in the New Zealand Herald recently that this is indeed the case.
She said that there is a bacterium living in the soil called Myobacterium vaccae that causes serotonin levels in your brain to go up i.e working with soil for any length of time improves your mood.
Gardeners everywhere know this to be true. The only aspect to gardening- in my experience-that possibly contradicts this is weeding. This often has the opposite effect on me, unless I imagine myself removing the challenges of the day mentally and “vegging out” as I yank out the daily emerging intruders.
Heather told a journalist from NZ Gardener that there are thousands of bacteria in soil-it is estimated there are anything from 2000 to 830,000 different species of microbes in every gram of dirt. She said scientists have done tests on mice exposing them to M.Vaccae and apparently this did indeed stimulate a set of neurones that help with serotonin production.
In a separate test children who were exposed to many different types of soil bacteria and fungi were less likely to suffer from asthma than those that weren’t.
So the data suggests gardeners are healthier, less stressed and happier than other people-smarter, even.
My wife and I are currently scoping out the best location and the best way to go about building a raised garden bed in our back section as our next project;so we can be putting this all to the test.
If you are not a gardener why not start growing something and post a comment if you experienced any beneficial effects? Pick up your trowel and spade-or if you don’t have one look for gardening deals online-and get going!
© January 2015. johnreason.com. All rights Reserved