If you’ve ever had a dirty kid or a pet hanging on your freshly washed floors, you mostly think there is no way that dirt can make you happy. But in fact, some studies show that some dirt can actually make people happier.
Gardeners may already be familiar with the calm and satisfying feelings they experience by plunging their hands into the ground. But, if you do not grow a lot of flowers, you may want to take a look at gardening. And here’s why:
The idea that exposing children to dirt is good for their immune system. A 2007 study shows that bacteria in the soil can help prevent some inflammatory diseases such as asthma, arthritis, and PTSD, according to Modern Farmer.
The researchers found that a substance called Mycobacterium vaccae, a microbe found in the soil, causes your neurons to react in the same way as Prozac or other antidepressants. One study showed that cancer patients exposed to this type of bacteria reported feeling happier, according to Gardening Know How. The effects of this microbe can last up to three weeks!
This may seem slightly counter-intuitive, but a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology indicates that Amish children (living on farms) have lower rates of asthma and allergies (50%!) That children living in “sterile” environments.
When you play in the ground (planting flowers, pulling weeds, etc.), you use your senses more: touch, smell, smell, and see. When many of your senses work at the same time, your brain works harder, which means you may be able to solve difficult problems a little easier.