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Get Happier: Eat More Dirt!

Remember when you were a kid and not nearly so concerned about staying clean? When you played in the dirt, it got everywhere! And now you (or someone you know) is an avid gardener whose knees are always grubby and there's probably a dab or two of dirt on their face.

You might have a hard time believing this. I did.

There's a harmless soil microbe called Mycobacterium vaccae that seems to have some of the same effect as antidepressants like Prozac!

Folks used to talk about how important it was to get enough sun each day (and it is). Being exposed to sunlight--not a tanning bed--helps your body produce Vitamin D: all it takes is ten minutes a day of exposed arms and legs. They used to talk about how important exercise is (it's true). Used to be that exercise helped ward of depression, too. Now dirt?

Well, why not. Frankly, if playing in the dirt (which inevitably means eating a little) is that good for you, get out there and make some mud pies! Dig in the dirt! Plant something. And you'll be getting exercise and sunlight too--and all three help you get happier.

That FMD (Frequent Mental Distress) we're all feeling from the economy, where we live, what's happened to us? I think we need to... eat more dirt!

Bring on the Mycobaterium vaccae! Let those little bitty microbes vacation in my dirt and I'll happily take them in. while I'm out there grubbing in my garden! Maybe this is why mud wraps feel so good?

Elizabeth Power
The Empress of Happy