You betcha! And there are scientific reasons why.
If you’re feeling the winter blahs, here’s a suggestion: instead of reaching for that glass of wine, put on some warm work clothes and work gloves, grab your garden tools and head out to the yard.
Active gardeners say that the simple act of gardening lowers stress levels and lifts spirits. Many gardeners say it’s meditative, a gentle exercise, fun, and allows us to be nurturing and to connect with life on a fundamental level.
Now, there is some scientific evidence to give credibility to their claims.
The soil itself has a natural ingredient that may stimulate serotonin production, which makes people more relaxed and happier. Microbacterium vaccae, a bacteria that lives in the soil, is the origin.
A number of disorders, like obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar problems, anxiety and depression have been linked to serotonin deficiencies. In recent animal trials using the bacteria, animals showed increased cognitive ability, lower stress, and better concentration than the control group. The results in the animal trials lasted for three weeks after initial exposure.
Scientists are also studying the bacteria in boosting immune systems to treat cancer, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. These recent scientific discoveries give new meaning to “playing in the dirt.”
Here are some gardening activities that anyone can do in February to reduce stress and anxiety and perhaps get a dose of Microbacterium vaccae:
Get your hands dirty and enjoy the benefits of nature.