Spring is in the air! And did you know that gardening is a great way to improve our moods?
Christopher Lowry, Ph.D., an assistant professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, completed a study with mice and exposure to Mycobacterium vaccae, a harmless bacteria commonly found in soil, and has found an increase in the release and metabolism of serotonin in parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood — much like serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs do.
Digging in the dirt isn’t the same as taking Prozac, of course, but Lowry argues that because humans evolved along with M. vaccae and a host of other friendly bugs, the relative lack of these “old friends” in our current environment has thrown our immune systems out of whack. This can lead to inflammation, which is implicated in a host of modern ills, from heart disease to diabetes to depression.
“By reintroducing these bacteria in the environment, that may help to alleviate some of these problems,” Lowry says.
So go ahead, and a healthy dose of gardening to your self care routine! Afterall, just being in nature is a form of therapy all its own.
Did you know that massage can also improve your mood? Aside from the numerous physical benefits, massage is also great for relieving stress, achieving better sleep and reducing anxiety. Contact me if you want to give it a try!