Smell Like Dirt

In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

Feeling Blue? Get Outside!

A comment from Friend of SLD, Harry Schmeider, who writes a great blog on all things Bluebirds called Ambassador for the Bluebirds, reminded me of an article that another friend of SLD forwarded to us a few weeks ago.  Harry posted a comment on the hummingbird video post about relieving stress by smelling like dirt and Katie had sent this article to us from Discover Magazine written in 2007 which gives a scientific reason to what gardeners have known for a long time, that getting outside and getting dirty is good for your mood!  The article reports how researchers, studying treatments for allergies, injected patients with a soil bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae and found that it activates a set of serotonin-releasing neurons in the brain—the same nerves targeted by anti-depressant drugs like Prozac!  As I said, gardeners could have saved them some time and money because we have known this for years, but its nice to have scientific proof.  And if you don’t have a garden, don’t worry about having to call your doctor to get a prescription, you can get the benefits from it by inhaling the bacterium during a walk in nature.  So, the next time you’re feeling a little blue, go outside and smell some dirt!

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1 Comment»

  Katie Lindsay wrote @

Great summary Carol.

I think it is a great to remind ourselves that many microbes are beneficial now that Americans are spending millions to try and “sanitize” our environment.

“Oh, don’t worry. It’s just good clean dirt.”
-My mom


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