“In spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
–Blue Beard’s Egg Margaret Atwood
I wanna dish about dirt today. Let me tell you right now you should be outside as much as possible. No excuses like work or other adulting crap. Get. Out. Side!!! There is no better medicine then the great outdoors. Literally. Research now shows that getting outside and breathing in the microbes from the soil actually has the same effect on our brain neurons as serotonin producing drugs like Prozac. There for dirt = medicine. Soul medicine.
Serotonin is a chemical the body produces to make it feel relaxed and happy. It is produced in the brain and in the gut. That’s it. Those are the only two places. So if you have depression and gut problems they go hand in hand. You’re welcome. You are having issues because your body is depleted of serotonin and it is going to try and get it wherever it can therefor starving your brain or gut of the serotonin it needs to function correctly. Serotonin deficiency can also cause problems with depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders, and bipolar disorders.
I know a lot about this because I have obsessive compulsive disorder. When I first started to notice the benefits of gardening and working in the yard I thought it was the action keeping my mind occupied but the more I research OCD and the science behind this “nature deficiency disorder” the more I was convinced that it was actually my body producing more of a much needed chemical- serotonin.
Some research is showing that depression could be linked in part to anti inflammatory disorder. Allergens trigger an inflammatory response in the body by activating immune cells to suppress the allergic reaction. So how does dirt help any of this?
The soil is full of good things like microbes and bacteria or maybe microbes are bacteria I’m no scientist. But the soil is full of it and this good guy bacteria called mycobacterium vaccae. This guy powers through the soil up into your nose hole down into your lungs and releases the same effect on yo brain as Prozac. True story. Or it can get into your blood through cuts on your hand.
You can even eat it off a carrot or some greens. That’s right we have literally taken the happy out of our food. We use so many pesticides and disgusting not necessary things in our food that we can not eat it with out washing it. And then we wash off all the happy. It just goes right down our drain.
Then we sit around, eating more crap, wondering why we feel so depressed and unhappy. I didn’t really understand the benefits of being outside until I lived in Germany. In Germany to keep a child indoors all day is a sin. They go out no matter what the weather. Rain or shine. Snow or sun. You dress for the weather and you stay out. Every. Day.
At first I heavily resisted this. In all forms. Biking 10 miles round trip to shop. Hiking flipping mountains. I don’t get it. I mean I do because it’s beautiful but if you want to hate you life then let your friends convince you to hike down Hoch Reiss because its super easy and will only take 30 minutes. And by that they mean it will take 3 hours and you will crawl to the bathroom the following day because that is as far as your body is able to make it. Eventually I became so accustomed to the “I’m going to make you climb a mountain to see what kind of girlfriend you are” move that I was actually starting to like it a little. Very little but still a little.
And those bike rides? Began to love how my booty was looking so I put that on the positive side too and liked it a little more. And when it came to my job as an aupair nothing could wear three kids out fast then fresh air. Knocks them out. Positives. Positives. Positive. Yeah, so I didn’t like the great outdoors. Except heres the thing. I didn’t like it until all of a sudden I did. The trick with getting outside is realizing it’s one of those things that seems like it isn’t going to be worth the extra effort to fit it into our agenda but the research is in my friends and it’s SO is worth your time to fit in. Soon you too will be addicted.
Join me this summer in making a family pact to get outside a minimum of 3o minutes. I’m going to call it the #mydirty30journey. It is as simple as this get outside for 30 minutes every day and get dirty. Take a hike. Work in the yard. Breath deeply and acknowledge that this time is important.
Then take a picture and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #mydirty30journey so we can all inspire each other this summer to get out. On our lunch breaks, after dinner, or whenever we can squeeze it in because it is as easy as that. Get dirty and breath deeply. Secret of life? Possibly so.