Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects.“Nature and Mental Health” by mind.org.uk
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another post in my new series, Natural Wisdom. This is a series where I write about some of the lessons God has taught me, through nature. God teaches us so much through nature if we’re willing to watch and listen to see and hear the Wisdom.
Today’s topic deals with the positive link between nature and better mental health. We all want and need the best mental health we can get. It’s important that we care for our mental health same as we care for our physical health.
Well it turns out nature is a great way to boost our mood and our mental health. And many years of science back this up. We won’t be looking at those many years of science today, because that would take awhile. Instead we’ll look at two articles which sum up the findings of the science.
What are the mental health benefits that nature provides?? Being out in nature is very calming, for one thing, which helps relieve stress and anxiety. This same calming effect helps relieve anger too. The greatest of these mood effects is that being in nature can help relieve depression. To be a little more specific, it turns out that there’s a kind of natural antidepressant in the soil!! It’s a bacterium.
The mental and physical health benefits of being outside and working in nature have been established by years of science. And there are many, many of these benefits. You know what that says to me?? It tells me these health benefits are part of God’s Design. This means mankind was Designed to work outside in nature. We were meant to work in the soil. And when we get back to living and working how God Designed us to, we reap the benefits in many ways.
Well, this is a huge topic. So today we’re only going to look at some of the mental health benefits of being outside and working in nature.
How Nature Boosts Health
First, let’s learn what some of the mental health benefits of being outside in nature are.
The mere act of being outside in nature provides distinct benefits for our mental health. There are many years of study proving and documenting this. But today let’s look at something that sort of sums up this vast body of learning. To find out more, let’s check out part of an article from mind.org.uk. (Bold emphasis is mine.)
“Nature and Mental Health” by mind.org.uk
How can nature benefit my mental health?
Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects. It can:
- improve your mood
- reduce feelings of stress or anger
- help you take time out and feel more relaxed
- improve your physical health
- improve your confidence and self-esteem
- help you be more active
- help you meet and get to know new people
- connect you to your local community
- reduce loneliness
- help you feel more connected to nature
- provide peer support.
If you read the article, linked above, it covers some of the science of how these benefits happen. Some of it is obvious, in my opinion. We can all understand why nature is calming. It feels good to be outside in the fresh air, under a sunny sky, feeling a cool breeze. And so on and so forth. So if we’re stressed out about something, a nice walk in nature is proven to help us take our mind off that.
The Natural Antidepressant
And that’s not all. Did you know that soil has a natural antidepressant in it?? It’s true—there’s a bacterium in soil that boosts our mood by boosting serotonin.
To learn more, let’s check out another article. This one is called Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy. It was written by Bonnie Grant and appears on the website, Gardening Know How. Check this out:
Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.
Lack of serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and bipolar disorders. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt.
Most avid gardeners will tell you that their landscape is their “happy place” and the actual physical act of gardening is a stress reducer and mood lifter. The fact that there is some science behind it adds additional credibility to these garden addicts’ claims. The presence of a soil bacteria antidepressant is not a surprise to many of us who have experienced the phenomenon ourselves. Backing it up with science is fascinating, but not shocking, to the happy gardener.
Mycobacterium antidepressant microbes in the soil are also being investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease, and even rheumatoid arthritis.
How Dirt Makes You Happy
Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. The bacterium was tested both by injection and ingestion on rats, and the results were increased cognitive ability, lower stress, and better concentration on tasks than a control group.
Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it, and get it into their bloodstream when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. The natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication. So get out and play in the dirt and improve your mood and your life.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/antidepressant-microbes-soil.htm
Working as Intended
So you see, nature offers many great benefits for our whole well-being. All these benefits tell me that humankind was meant to work outside, in the soil. It’s part of God’s Design.
The unnatural jobs we have today, in the modern era, take us away from nature. If we don’t make sure to get back outside in nature whenever we can, our mental health will suffer for it. Our mental health will suffer because our Souls, which understand our true nature and purpose, want to be connected to God’s Design and that means interacting with and even being a part of the nature around us. Being a responsible part of the nature around us, with a duty to care for the land as I wrote about in Natural Wisdom #1.
When we return to nature, our Soul thanks us for it. We see this clearly by the positive mental health benefits that come from getting back to the Purpose God Designed us for. That means getting back outside and working on the land.
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Until next time, be strong and do good!!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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