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.


James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) 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 Calder said...

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