Monday, April 02, 2007

Why dirt makes us happy

Back in 2004 I wrote an article for Open Mind magazine on the idea that experience of the natural world is good for our mental well-being.

Today the BBC website takes it one further. it's not just "the sunlight and the pure wind" that are good for us: it is dirt too:
Lead researcher Dr Chris Lowry said: "These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health.

"They also leave us wondering if we shouldn't all spend more time playing in the dirt."
It's a pity that the environmental movement has invested so much of its effort in making us terrified of the natural world.

3 comments:

James said...

I've pledged not to mention poo on my blog this week and so going on about this story would be a little close for comfort. But I notice the article is dated 1 April.

Tristan said...

The post was made on 1st of April in GMT, but in BST it was the 2nd. A bit ambiguous for an April Fools Day joke.

I think it makes sense too. Playing in the dirt is a great way for children to develop their immune system, and a link between a strong immune system and depression is conceptually sensible (even if its you get depressed because you get ill more - I know I don't get happy when I'm ill).

Jonathan said...

The Bristol University press release on this is dated 2 April to avoid any such doubts.