A while ago I read a great article that discussed the potential positive benefits that a specific soil bacterium possesses. A few days ago I unearthed the article on my desk and enjoyed reading it again. Below is a link to a similar story. If you have some time it is worth watching or reading. Perhaps it will get you excited about the upcoming gardening season.
Mycobacterium vaccae is a soil microbe that seems to possess several benefits for us mammals. It may help us generate serotonin, reduce our anxiety, and stimulate our ability to learn. Exposing yourself to soil and being outdoors is probably the simplest way to encounter this soil microbe. Imagine all these benefits in the soil, readily available right at our fingertips. At the very least this is a great excuse to get our hands “dirty” gardening.
What makes these findings so intriguing to me? They are just one more piece of reinforcing evidence that our connection to nature is vital to our well being. The stronger that connection is, the healthier and happier we can be. Sadly, as a culture we increasingly strain this connection. Taking the time to enjoy our natural outdoor environment is something we do not stress and make little time for in our daily routines. Kids may be the biggest losers in this increasing trend.
Encouraging and enabling our children to experience and play in the natural world is one of our most important responsibilities. Studies like the one I included here, reinforce why this is true. Gardening and outdoor fun are beneficial in ways we have ot identified or even imagined.
Take some time to walk a wooded trail or play in the earth with your child; you will feel better for having made the effort. Then consider making it a habit for the whole family; it really can be that simple.
Be in your garden and thrive.