Challenges To And Solutions For The Aging Gardener

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Why Gardening Makes You Happy and Cures Depression

QuickImage Tags: Gardening and Health

Here are a few pertinent excerpts:

While mental health experts warn about depression as a global epidemic, other researchers are discovering ways we trigger our natural production of happy chemicals that keep depression at bay, with surprising results. All you need to do is get your fingers dirty and harvest your own food.

Getting your hands dirty in the garden can increase your serotonin levels – contact with soil and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin in our brain according to research. Serotonin is a happy chemical, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression.

Another interesting bit of research relates to the release of dopamine in the brain when we harvest products from the garden. The researchers hypothesize that this response evolved over nearly 200,000 years of hunter gathering, that when food was found (gathered or hunted) a flush of dopamine released in the reward centre of brain triggered a state of bliss or mild euphoria. The dopamine release can be triggered by sight (seeing a fruit or berry) and smell as well as by the action of actually plucking the fruit.

The contemporary transference of this brain function and dopamine high has now been recognized as the biological process at play in consumers addiction or compulsive shopping disorder. Of course the big retail corporations are using the findings to increase sales by provoking dopamine triggers in their environments and advertising.

Click on the link to read the rest of this very surprising and informative article. After reading this, gardening should be an acceptable therapy for people with depression.

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