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Dirt can make you happy

Oct 31, 2010

A friend once told me, that all the gardeners she knew were happy people. Well it turns out there is scientific research to back her up. I just read in the Oct/Nov issue of Organic Gardening, that researchers have discovered a organism in soil that increases our serotonin levels, making us more relaxed, happier and smarter. The short article left me with more questions than answers, like should I garden gloveless? So I googled mycobacterium vaccae, and found tons of info. It turns out that Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural, harmless soil bacterium. Researchers think we ingest or breath it in when we spend time in nature. This got me to thinking, a bacteria would not live in the sterile soil environment created when chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used. But my soil is alive. Score another point in favor of organic agriculture. I always assumed, that the happy feeling I had while gardening, came from being exposed to cheerful flowers like the sunchoke pictured above. I still think flowers and all the vitamin D I absorb help, but so does getting dirty. So, the computer code I have been writing can wait, I am going out to spend some time in the sunshine, getting dirty. You can read more about this here:

www.sciencedaily.com

www.medicalnewstoday.com

Comments

Just yesterday my wife came out a kept me company while I was working in the garden and commented, "you always seem so at peace when you're in the garden". She's right and now we know a little more about why. Thanks...Everett
But I don't need no research! I already know I'm happy hanging out in dirt. Haha :-)
Tamra, I'm glad you posted this. I think that being outside whether in a garden, a park, or on a hike of good for us in ways that science has just begun to quantify. I'm not suprised one bit about positive interactions between the microbiological world and ourselves. Just look at our plants, they thrive in healthy, alive soils. Thanks. -Johanna
I was rasied on a small farm in S.C., we never wore shoe in the summer. We played in the plowed fields, when we were not working in them. I was doomed to play in the dirt all my life, it is a good thing that it makes me happy. Family, friends, a garden & a good garden web site with gardeners from all over this tiny world. LIFE IS GOOD! Laugh & have fun, Joel.

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