As a society, we’ve become more and more dependent on prescription anti-depressants to keep us on an even keel and to fight the onset of depression that comes from living a stressful life.
Depression is now a global epidemic which is being alleviated with anti-depressants containing chemicals that we’re becoming more and more dependent upon. There is another method that can work even better, but you must make a long-term commitment to it to make it work — gardening.
There are natural chemicals emitted in your brain when you’re exercising or doing something you enjoy. One of the best ways is to get your hands dirty, enjoy the outside and grow your own food.
Not only does gardening trigger the production of “happy” chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) but it also produces compounds that keep your immune system purring. Contact with soil can also provide good bacteria that are natural reducers of depression.
Today’s world consists of obsessively “clean” living and we often forget – or never knew – how good it is for us to dig in the soil. Now, it’s known that some children’s ailments such as asthma, depression and other mental disorders are directly caused from living too sterile lives.
One chemical-release from gardening is dopamine. When we harvest food or the beauty of flowers from our gardens, we experience a rush of euphoria from the “happy” chemical release in the brains.
Even the smell and touch of veggies and fruit can trigger this reaction in our brains. When we harvest what we’ve created with our own hands, it gives us a sense of satisfaction that can’t be bought.
One interesting side note about how dopamine, the natural chemical released in the brain when gardening, can help the biological reaction experienced in certain addictions.
There’s nothing like the rush of adrenalin you get when you discover the first tomato on the vine or the first, juicy strawberry ripening on the vine. If you go a step farther with your garden and can or freeze what you grow, you also experience it during times when you can’t garden by using it in recipes.
Rewards are plentiful when you garden, but none are as wonderful as the reactions you feel from creating a living thing and then enjoying it for its beauty and its natural taste and benefits for your health.
In fact, researchers have found that a person addicted to drugs feels the same reward “rush” that a gardener feels when enjoying all that nature provides in the activity of gardening.
With all the chemicals being used in big-farm produced food, it’s no wonder that we’re a nation of addicts and compulsive disorders. Whether you have a small patio space or windowsill – or acreage, gardening can play a huge part in your quest to prevent stress and live a healthful and bountiful life.