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Gardens: proven to make owners happier

A flower in the horticulture room.

Morgan Eckhardt

A flower in the horticulture room.

Tatum McElroy, Staff Reporter

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This winter has been one of the harshest in over 15 years, and if you’ve felt like it took an emotional toll on you, you’re probably correct. There is a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a type of depression that occurs each year most commonly in the winter seasons. Anyone can get SAD, but it’s most commonly found in women, people between the ages of 15-55, and those who live further from the equator. The latest winter combined the perfect type of conditions to develop SAD. Some common symptoms of SAD are feelings of sadness, moodiness, anxiousness, weight gain, and oversleeping and feelings of tiredness. If you or a loved one has contracted SAD, planning a garden is the simplest solution to revert back to happiness.

Getting those hands deep into the dirt could help with reverting those winter time blues.

Planting a garden doesn’t take much at all, you just need sun, soil, water, seeds, and patience. One of the main elements that contribute to a garden being therapeutic is its dirt. Yes, at first it sounds a bit unreasonable to think the most avoided part of a garden is one of the most beneficial, but dirt has a specific soil bacteria called Mycobacterium Vaccae that triggers the release of serotonin within the brain. Serotonin is a happy chemical, and is known as a natural Anti-depressant which strengthens the immune system. A lack of serotonin in the brain can cause depression, so getting those hands deep into the dirt could help with reverting those winter time blues.

Seeds in the horticulture classroom. Photo by Morgan Eckhardt.

The dirt within the garden isn’t the only beneficial factor. Because owners have to tend to an area, their physical exercise will increase dramatically. To some that sounds dreadful, but light work pays off tremendously, resulting in exercise that boosts personal endorphins. Endorphins in the body are natural body chemicals that elicit sensations of pleasure. Exercising outdoors especially is proven to boost self-esteem and reduce feelings of depression, anger, and tension. Not to mention that being outside in the sunlight more often will increase the amount of vitamin D your body will absorb, and vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression.

Plants in the horticulture classroom. Photo by Morgan Eckhardt.

You can never go wrong with bringing something into your life that will only bring happiness and food.

Even if you don’t count all the other factors of having a garden, scientist have proven the positive response of having a garden, and it’s mainly tied with the harvesting of products from the garden. They assume this response has evolved over 2000,000 years of hunter gathering, that when food was found a flush of dopamine is released in the reward center of the brain. It’s human nature to be outdoors in the dirt, feeling the sun on our skin, eating freshly harvested produce. It also is the best way to overcome depression or just to increase the amount of time you get to spend outdoors. You can never go wrong with bringing something into your life that will only bring happiness and food.

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Gardens: proven to make owners happier