Why is it good for us to get our hands dirty?
In this Article...
We all know that feeling of well-being after being outside in nature. But how does getting our hands dirty really benefit us?
What exactly is in soil that can benefit us all mentally and help those that are suffering from depression or a form of mental illness? How can it improve our overall health and well-being?
Microbes that are found in soil have been shown to have similar effects on the brain as Prozac, but without all of the side effects and also chemical dependency of pharmaceutical drugs. Studies have shown that gardening produces health benefits by exposing gardeners to a non-pathogenic bacterium in soil called Mycobacterium Vaccae. There are a lot of different bacteria in the soil, in fact one teaspoon contains between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria. Bacteria improve the soil, changing it so plants can thrive – in effect it feeds the world.
Researchers are making links to the poor health of children to the decline of outdoor play and the increase of indoor activities, like gaming, social media and TV. Studies have shown that today’s children have a weakened immune system and are more prone to food allergies and asthma. This is linked to lack of interaction to the natural world.
Today the world is obsessed with being clean and sanitised, this in turn leads to our immune system not being able to fight off germs, as the lack of exposure to these germs has left us without adequate defence.
The easiest way to exposure of this natural anti-depressant is to get outdoors and start gardening. Encourage your children to do the same. Set up a mud kitchen in your garden and encourage them to get their hands dirty. Lots of fun for the kids, with all the added health benefits.
Grounding, or walking barefoot outside has similar health benefits.
Link to study below: