According to a recent survey for Gardeners World magazine, 87 percent of gardeners who spent six hours or more a week in their gardens reported feeling happy and satisfied with their lives compared to 67 percent of non-gardeners. And the more time spent in the garden, the higher their satisfaction scores were. The study attributes the well being of gardeners to the good feelings they get from sticking their hands in the soil and spending time outdoors. These happy people tend to have fewer diseases both chronic and seasonal.

Being In Nature

Interestingly, fitness researchers have also found that when you exercise outdoors, and gardening is exercise, you exercise harder but perceive it as being easier than when exercising indoors and this has significant health benefits. According to recent research from Johns Hopkins having a cheerful temperament can significantly reduce your odds of suffering a heart attack or sudden cardiac death. According to lead author Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: “If you are by nature a cheerful person and look on the bright side of things, you are more likely to be protected from cardiac events. A happier temperament has an actual effect on disease and you may be healthier as a result."

Even The Smallest Garden Helps

Aside from increasing your sense of well-being, keeping a garden can also improve your health by providing you with fresher, uncontaminated food, and cutting your grocery bill. And you don’t need vast amounts of space either. You don’t even have to have a backyard. Even apartment dwellers can create a well-stocked edible garden. There are many creative solutions that will allow you to make the most of even the tiniest space and engaging your own creativity to solve space limitations can be part of the fun. In her book The Edible Balcony, Alex Mitchell details how to grow fresh produce in small spaces. Hanging baskets are ideal for a wide variety of foods, such as strawberries, leafy greens, runner beans, pea shoots, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs. And instead of flowers, window boxes can hold herbs, greens, radishes, scallions, bush beans, strawberries, chard and chilies, for example. Just start small and as you get the hang of it add another container of something new. Before you know it large portions of your meals could come straight from your own edible garden.

Optimize Your Immune System With Happiness

  • Optimize Your Gut Flora. Mounting research indicates that the bacterial colonies residing in your gut may play key roles in the development of brain, behavioral and emotional problems. A recent proof-of-concept study found that probiotics (beneficial bacteria) actually altered participants’ brain function for the positive
  • Manage The Stress. Try meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, yoga, or simply sharing your feelings with a close friend. Experiment with a number of approaches, and then pick the methods you find most helpful
  • Get Regular Exercise. Regular exercise is one of the secrets to feeling good. It works by helping to normalize your insulin levels while boosting the good hormones in your brain. Exercise can increase the number of cells in your brain, in the region of the brain called the hippocampus. In unhappy people there are fewer of those cells in the hippocampus. But you can actually change your brain with exercise
  • Improve Your General Nutrition. Another factor that cannot be overlooked is your diet. Foods have an immense impact on your body and your brain and eating whole foods will best support your mental and physical health. Avoiding sugar (particularly fructose) and grains will help normalize your insulin and leptin levels – another important aspect of feeling good. Sugar causes chronic inflammation which disrupts your body's normal immune function wreaking havoc on your brain
  • Supplement Your Diet with Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat, like krill oil, may be the single most important nutrient for optimal brain function and feeling good. DHA is one of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish and krill oil and your brain is highly dependent on it. Low DHA levels have been linked to depression, memory loss, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease
  • Gardening In The Sun. Have you ever noticed how great it can feel to spend time outdoors on a sunny day? Well, it turns out that getting safe sun exposure – which allows your body to produce vitamin D – also makes you feel good. When the sunny days are gone taking vitamin D3 by capsule is an acceptable substitute
  • Try Grounding. When walking on the earth barefoot free electrons from the earth transfer into your body via the soles of your feet. These free electrons are some of the most potent antioxidants known to man. Lack of grounding, due to widespread use of rubber or plastic-soled shoes, may have contributed to the rise of modern diseases by allowing chronic inflammation to proliferate unchecked. Experiments have shown that free electrons from the earth cause beneficial changes in heart rate, decrease inflammation, reduce pain, promote healthy sleep and thins your blood making it less viscous which has a beneficial impact on cardiovascular disease. Ideal locations for grounding are on the beach, close to or in the water, and on dewy grass

All in all, your lifestyle may be one of the most fundamental contributors to a happy immune system. Using the above natural alternatives before resorting to drug treatments that are fraught with potentially dangerous side effects and connecting with nature through a gardening project or other outdoor activity simply cannot be ignored. The evidence clearly points to the fact that activities like gardening can have a significantly beneficial impact on your immune system. When you practice eco-friendly gardening, you greatly lessen the need for fertilizers and herbicides while giving your garden plants the best nutrition and resistance to disease. And best of all, a healthy edible garden means more nutrients passed on to you!

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