Happiness is getting dirty

For hundreds of years, natural remedies have been discovered to cure a wide variety of ailments.  Most of us have probably considered dirt to be more of a nuisance than a natural rememdy but scientists have reason to believe that dirt can be very powerful.

happiness 2A bacteria known as “Mycobacterium vaccae” that is found in soil is currently under study since it was found to produce results similar to anti-deppressant drugs. It is believed that this bacteria can stimulate the creation of serotonin, the chemical responsible for feelings of relaxation and happiness.  A lack of serotonin can lead to a multitude of disorders.

Most of us can agree that just being outside breathing fresh air and being among other living organisms can ground our busy minds.  Avid gardeners often refer to their garden as “their happy place,” noting that it is a relaxing and stress relieving hobby.

Can the presence of dirt have a lot to do with this phenomenon?

We know that the act of gardening puts a person in direct contact with dirt, giving the bacterium the chance to be absorbed through the lungs and skin.  Scientists definitely think so, since their discovery of results when bacterium was tested on rats and compared to a control group.  The results showed signs of lower stress and increased mental abilities in the rats for up to 3 weeks!  Studies were also conducted on cancer patients and they reported a decrease in stress levels.