gardener's giftThe greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses
Studies suggest that inhaling M. vaccae, a healthy bacteria that lives in soil, can increase levels of serotonin and reduce anxiety. According to Discover Magazine, ‘you get a dose just by taking a walk in the wild or rooting around in the garden’ and this ‘could help elicit a jolly state of mind.’
Having dirt under your fingernails used to be a sign of poor hygiene, but these days scientists are saying it’s actually a mark of good health. Thanks to beneficial bacteria found in soil, gardening can improve your immune system, helping you get sick less and fight off infections easier, according to research published in Science. Working in the garden can also help prevent certain allergies and decrease the severity of a reaction, according to a separate study done by the University of Copenhagen. These other healthy habits will keep your immune system revved.
A Dutch study asked two groups to complete a stressful task. Afterwards, one group gardened for 30 minutes, while the other group read indoors. Not only did the gardening group report better moods than the reading group, they also had measurably lower cortisol levels. Cortisol, “the stress hormone”, may influence more than just mood: chronically elevated cortisol levels have been linked to everything from immune function to obesity to memory and learning problems and heart disease. It may be more than brain hormones causing higher self-esteem scores for gardeners: there’s no more tangible measure of one’s power to cause positive change in the world than to nurture a plant from seed to fruit-bearing.