For thousands of years, spanning across many cultures, traditions and religions, there has been a recognition for the role of nature within health and wellbeing. With advances in technology, land conversions and pollution, some believe we have never been less connected to nature and our environment.
As we get older, we need to pay more attention to all aspects of our health. We must actively work to encourage quality of life in our older communities, amongst people with learning difficulties and those living with physical and/or mental health problems. It is well recognised that “successful aging and longevity are built upon patterns of lifelong learning” (Jacquelyn James, Director of research at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work).
Here at Dale Farm, we are trying to get back to our roots (pardon the pun!).
We are ready to get our hands dirty and our boots muddy in order to maintain and promote the happy community which we have sown and grown.
With scientific advances, there are growing bodies of research into holistic approaches to health and wellbeing. Numerous studies have demonstrated the significance which nature plays in human physical, emotional and social wellbeing.
Ask many people who have taken up gardening, walking or spending more time outdoors, and they will assure you how working outside noticeably reduces stress and lifts spirits. But did you know that amongst the soil and mud, lies natural antidepressants?
Mycobacterium vaccae is thought to create similar reactions between brain neurons which antidepressants are prescribed to do so. This bacteria encourages the brain to produce serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’, which regulates mood and social behaviours, aids appetite and digestion and helps us have a great night’s sleep.
These mood-boosting hormones are maintained by practicing gratitude. By undertaking projects such as the John Muir Award, we are encouraged to explore, conserve and share the experience being amongst our beautiful environment. By learning to appreciate what we can do with our hands, our happiness increases.
Gardening brings us together. Communally sharing the experiences available whilst working on our farm helps the Dale Farm family to learn from one another. This improves our communication skills and promote social inclusion through working as a team. This acquisition of new skills in a supportive environment promotes active learning, the development of friendships and mental fitness.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/antidepressant-microbes-soil.htm
The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health Gregory N. Bratman,1 J. Paul Hamilton,2 and Gretchen C. Daily3. Retrieved from: http://willsull.net/resources/BratmanHamiltonDaily2012.pdf
Why Learning Leads To Happiness. Philip Moeller. Retrieved from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/learning-happiness_n_1415568