Been thinking about happiness and depression since Robin Williams passed away a week ago. Depression is such a complex condition — so insidious, so difficult to cure. And so many questions come to mind:
- what factors contribute to depression? According to the Mayo Clinic: genetics, a body’s hormonal imbalance, brain chemistry and biology, medications, and life events all play a part.
- how to differentiate between the blues, feeling down and severe clinical depression? (Haven’t you seen those TV commercials for antidepressants–for example, remember the one with that sad looking cloud blob?) The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) details different forms of depression ranging from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to Major depression.
Some try to self-medicate with food, alcohol or drugs. I even blogged about the prescribing of anti-depressants in America back in 2011 – click here.
There’s a healthy activity that may not occur to some people…gardening.
♦ The Daily Mail (UK) tells us that gardening can ward off depression, improve your mood and make you feel life is more worthwhile. The article cites scientific research indicating ‘engagement with green places is good for personal health’ and that ‘short-term mental health improvements are protective of long-term health benefits.’
♦ A recent article from Greatist discussed ways of improving your life, how to be happy and an important method is to:
Spend time outside – this also provides opportunity to get some sun & vitamin D. Low levels of this vitamin has been associated with depression. Gardening helps you to get in touch with nature and unplug yourself from
♦ The Therapeutic Landscapes Network blog posted about the research done in the UK on a harmless bacteria found in soil — Mycobacterium vaccae — and its effect on seratonin which elevates mood and decreases anxiety. Read more about this research in the Cosmos Magazine article: How gardening could cure depression
Of course, this isn’t an absolute guarantee that gardening will cure depression. (And experienced gardeners know all too well the disappointments that often occur when pests, plant disease, inclement weather or having a black thumb get the better of our crops.)
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy,
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Billboard.com — Top 20 ‘Happy’ Songs of All Time
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