Posts Tagged ‘wellbeing’

Happiness is Digging in the Dirt

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015


According to the famous plant collector, E.H. Wilson, “There are no happier folks than plant lovers and none more generous than those who garden.” I agree. Researchers now have some proof as to why gardeners tend to be so happy.

Have you ever noticed how good you feel after you spend time in the garden? Or that standing outside and just smelling the smell of good, old-fashioned soil in the air makes you feel better? Science tells us that getting our hands dirty actually gives our brain a boost. Digging in the dirt releases a strain of bacterium in the soil, called Mycobacterium vaccae. M. vaccae triggers a release of serotonin in the brain which provides that lovely lift that we experience. Along with increasing our happiness, serotonin is also credited with decreasing our anxiety level.

M.vaccae enters our bodies through the air that we breathe, so even those who stand nearby and watch someone else dig in the dirt and garden will benefit. This research would indicate that inhaling M.vaccae may be responsible for our feelings of well-being when we are being contemplative in the garden, too. Science also shares that the effects of the natural high seem to taper off after only three weeks.

To keep the natural boost going, it is recommended that we get into the garden as often as possible. Even a weekly dose of M.vaccae will help you continue to feel happy.

Here’s to digging in the dirt, feeling good and gardening mindfully.

© Rita Perea, 2015. All rights reserved.

Life Changes? Release During the New Moon.

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Writer, Hugh Prather, famously said, “Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes!”

In our modern, fast-paced times, pieces of our lives seem to change almost daily. Sometimes, within 10 minutes of waking up in the morning, we know we are in for a “white-knuckle ride” that day. We fasten our seat belts as we hold on for dear life.

When we experience a change in our life, whether it is happy and anticipated or sudden and unexpected, we all go through a pre-programed set of psychological stages as we learn to grieve the loss and embrace change. A strategy for releasing I suggest to my coaching and spiritual direction clients is identifying the loss the change brought about and then to develop a ritual to say goodbye to that loss.

Did you know our brains love patterns? Rituals are patterns we create and use for our well being and healing. Saying goodbye through ritual is a way of psychologically clearing and releasing old thought patterns and behaviors. It makes room to embrace the new way of life that is beginning to take shape.

Symbolically, the new moon on the calendar is the ideal time of the month to say goodbye, to release, clear out the old and invite the new into our lives. This can happen physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You know how good it feels to clean out a closet or organize your desk drawers? Saying goodbye in a methodical way, making the decision to move forward and embracing the new provides the same kind of feeling.

As a writer, I like the ritual of writing down, on a small piece of paper, the thought, feeling, person or item I am saying goodbye to as a result of the change in my life. I also set my intentions to welcome the new that is replacing the old. During the week of the new moon I close my eyes, verbally whisper my goodbye to the thing I have written on the paper. I’m able to release the loss and grief to the ethers by burning the slip of paper in my fire place (during winter) or in a large metal bucket in my backyard (during the summer months). I then turn my attention to and whisper a welcome to the new intention- that thought, feeling, person, situation or item I am grateful to invite into my life.

As we celebrate the new moon during harvest time this week, I invite you to give this a try. What have you got to lose? Except old emotional baggage.

© Rita Perea, 2015. All rights reserved.

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