Ding, ding, ding—stop the presses! Scientists now claim that dirt can prevent anxiety disorders.
You think I’m kidding. Nope. In Neuroscience Psychology they’ve cited a study that claims a fatty acid in soil can lead to a “stress vaccine” and that people who like to garden are just happier, better people. Okay, I added that last part about gardeners because I like to garden.
But they’re dead serious about the mental health benefits of playing in the dirt. For years folks have believed the “hygiene hypothesis” that exposure to germs makes you more immune. Back in 1989 it was found that lack of exposure to microorganisms in childhood led to higher rates of allergies and asthma.
But now they believe it impacts mental health as well. One study shows farm kids being more stress-resilient than pet-free city dwellers. (Like that’s the only variable, right? Could it be chores? Fresh air? Lack of traffic noise? Gimme a break.)
So I was skeptical. But then they found that a certain bacteria was like an antidepressant in the brain and even impacted PTSD. They’re looking into injecting this bacteria into first responders and others in high-stress careers.
Meanwhile, it sounds like mud pies could be just what the doctor ordered. I do know that my gardening buddies all claim an unexplainable joy they get from getting their bare hands into the soil.
And taking a mud bath? Well… now you’re talking heaven in a bathtub, my friend.
Surely you wouldn’t dream of bathing without a good book to read, right? Find my latest and greatest right here.