Digging Yourself into a Hole to Feel Better

 

Girl DiggingIt is always nice to have what you knew by intuition proven correct by science. Scientists at Bristol University have shown that a bacteria found in the soil activated a group of neurons in test mice that produce the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical produced in our body that affects our mood. Serotonin helps maintain a "happy feeling," and seems to help keep our moods under control by helping with sleep, calming anxiety, and relieving depression. That is great news but not surprising for those of us who like to be outside and getting our hands dirty.

Dr Chris Lowry, lead author on the paper, said: "These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health. They also leave us wondering if we shouldn't all be spending more time playing in the dirt." Yes indeed. Why shouldn’t we?

Almost all of the children who come to the Village have mood disorders. They are given many opportunities to get down and dirty each day while playing outside. Garden groups also meet each week to dig and plant and connect with the soil. The kids enjoy seeing their love and labor grow into beautiful or delicious plants. And now it is proven that the more they dig themselves into a hole the better they will feel. Providing opportunities to get in touch with the earth is just another way that we help hurting children at the Village.

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