Things are starting to make sense in this strange life of mine, thanks to human curiosity and and its resulting scientific discoveries. I’ve got two new-to-me brain tidbits to share with you!
Why Dirt Makes Me Happy
If I’m having a rotten, terrible, no-good, very bad day, weeding my flower garden is always bound to help me feel better. Now I know why!
Research has shown that a particular microbe found in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, causes an increase in serotonin in the brain, while having no negative effects on health.
“Serotonin is a happy chemical, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression” (Permaculture College Australia).
“Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide” (Gardening Know How).
Playing in the dirt (what I call weeding) releases microbes into the air where they are inhaled.
With mental health being so unhealthy these days, maybe we should all go out and play in the dirt more often!!
Why My Memory Stinks
That’s going to be my answer from now on.
I’ve had tinnitus for as long as I can remember. Its volume increases with spring allergies, but it never completely goes away. I just about lost my mind one summer because I couldn’t hear the crickets singing outside over the ringing in my ears.
And here’s how tinnitus might be related to memory: tinnitus sufferers spend a greater portion of their night in light sleep than those blessed without ringing in the ears. What we’re missing is more deep sleep, which seems to be important for memory functions.
I forgot to buy milk? Tinnitus.
I forgot to call? Tinnitus.
I forgot a name? Tinnitus.
Yeah, seems to me like a good cover . . .
Not getting a great deal of deep sleep could also be why I’m tired so early every night, and why I sleep so long. Give me my nine hours of sleep every night, or risk facing the consequences!!
It amazes me that science continues to discover how things are interconnected in this life. Soil microbes and serotonin levels. Sleep cycles and brain function.
After all this time we still haven’t figured everything out, but God has.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.Psalm 139:13-15 NLT
I wonder if God gets a twinkle in his eye every time someone has an “Aha!” moment, figuring out a new aspect of how His creation works together. He’s known all along, because he designed it all!
Not only did he design all of creation, but he put a spark of curiosity in us that drives us to want to know WHY!?! And HOW!?!
My friend, I do hope you haven’t grown up too much to squelch that drive to question, discover, and learn. Some of us explore nature. Others explore the visual arts and music. Still others explore mathematics.
What areas of life fascinate you?
I, for one, am grateful for scientists who were curious about happy gardeners, and others who wanted to learn about poor sleepers with ringing in the ears!!
Have you recently heard about an exciting scientific discovery? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
In Other News . . .
I’m now a published author, in print, in black and white!! I’m thrilled, and honored to be a contributing author for this devotional collection. My first copy arrived in the mail just yesterday, and I just had to share the news with you!
Are you a writer who needs an extra dose of encouragement to either begin writing again or simply continue on your creative journey? This book is filled with 62 Scripture-based, encouraging devotions from various Christian authors.
Copies of “The Courage to Write” are now available on Amazon.
Featured Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash