The research is validating what we instinctively know to be true – that spending time outside makes us feel better. Taking a walk, gardening, fishing, bike riding and other activities can elevate our moods and we have a better felling about our quality of life. The surprising fact is that this benefit can occur in as little as five minutes!
Researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed data collected from over 1,200 people of all ages, genders and mental health status and were able to show that activity in nature settings improved mental and physical health. The researchers, Jules Pretty and Jo Barton, Ph.D. indicated that activity in nature decreases the risk of mental illness and improves the sense of well-being. “Just 5 minutes of exercise in a green nature setting can boost mood and self-esteem.”
So, be sure to get outside. Especially this time of year, as we retreat indoors for the winter season. Spending time in the garden doing some end of year chores or possibly getting ready for the spring season are important – for us as well as the garden. Maybe it means taking a walk on a sunny day to get that dose of Vitamin D and limit the effects of seasonal affected disorder. What ever the reason – be sure to maintain your connection with nature by getting outside.
The article can be found in Science Daily – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100502080414.htm)Read more
NOVEMBER GENERATIONS NEWSLETTER
A recent study in the UK (Organic Gardening magazine, Vol. 57:6) indicates that digging in the dirt makes for smarter gardeners. The soil organism Mycobacterium vaccae helps to decrease anxiety and is responsible for increasing our levels of serotonin, the ‘feel good’ hormone produced in our body. When our bodies produce serotonin, we feel less stressed and we are able to learn easier. M. vaccae is responsible for helping to increase our ability to learn. The researchers suggest that we should think about how important gardening is, for everyone. For example, schools should include classes that allow children to plant gardens and come in contact with the soil and nature. A link to the articles can be found at: sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524143416.htm
This term, first coined by Roger Ulrich, PhD, Associate Dean for Research at Texas A&M University, very clearly describes the way in which we are able to get ‘lost’ in nature. It is this quiet fascination that we all enjoy and can appreciate. We should take advantage of it as much as possible. One of the ways to put this advice to use is to take a walk when you are in need to re-ignite your creativity. Being outside can help elevate our moods, which in turn generates creativity. Looking at the fall foliage, listening to the birds, smelling the fresh air all contribute to generating new ideas. And, be sure to bring some of nature, a colorful leaf or flower, back inside with you.
Looking for an unusual gift for a friend who is a bird watcher (or maybe yourself)? Visit the Red Yellow and Red Ink web site. The carry bird feeders made from recycled traffic lights. It definitely makes for an interesting bird feeder for the yard.
Not sure what to do with all of those leaves this fall? Or maybe you are looking to reuse vegetable and other kitchen scraps. The EPA estimates that yard waste, alone, accounts for up to 13% of our trash. One of the ways to help reduce and reuse these valuable natural resources is to compost them. A good web site to read more and find interesting composting devices is at goodcompost.com
Our sense of smell is very powerful. Our ability to recognize odors can trigger moods and emotions and help to transport us back to an event or place. The same sense of smell can be used to help us to relax. Fragrances like sandalwood, vanilla and jasmine can be used for calming. Lavender can be used to help induce sleep, naturally.
Fall is a good time to plant trees, especially if you are selecting a tree because of fall foliage. Planting this time of year give the trees a head start in developing a good root system. Roots continue to grow until the ground freezes, so consider planting trees soon. Be sure to water the trees once a week, depending upon the rain fall. And mulch the trees with 3 – 4 inches of shredded hardwood mulch.
The ornamental tree “dogwood” supposedly got its name from the edible and medicinal properties of the tree. It is said that the berries of the Cornus sanguinea were not fit to be eaten, not even by a dog. Another explanation is that the leaves of the tree were used to make a concoction to wash the fleas from a dog. The bark of the tree contains a small amount of quinine which could be chewed to ward off fever. There are many other stories about the tree. President Bartlett tried to order it as a gift for Sidney Wade in the film “The American President”. One final tale is that the dogwood (Cornus Mas) was supposedly used to build the Trojan Horse?
The attached picture is taken at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, DC. A table within the garden was inscribed with various garden quotes and research about the benefits of gardening and nature. The picture is taken from one section of the table. Other pictures will be posted along in future newsletters. Thank you to the staff at the Botanic Garden for helping to spread the word.
“Roses do comfort the heart” – William LanghamRead more