Sitting near the herbal and culinary garden should be a great place to relax...

Sitting near the new herbal  garden should be a great place to relax in 2017...

I had goals in 2017 to post each week ( which I plan on doing) but got side tracked due to some health issues. My health issues are not something that is life threatening. They are something many people deal with in life. I have often written on here about my "anxiety" attacks. They are something I have learned to live with over the years. I really don't have them that often anymore but when I am inside for long periods and not able to garden outside or ride my bike on the river, I tend to not deal with stress too well in my life. I wrote a post about it this summer. I find relief in making teas from my garden. This time of year, I don't have anything alive outside. It is all covered in snow.

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My post this week was going to be on historic pansy but at the last minute; today, I decided to post about how our gardens help us deal with stress. That healing can come from the soil itself, for exampleHave you heard "Dirt is the new Prozac?"  I wrote a post with a great article you can link to on "Dirt is the new Prozac" from Discover Magazine. Yes, when you dig in the dirt there is a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae which helps elevate moods and decrease your anxieties. Makes one wonder if that is what God had intended when he created this world; we were to have our hands in the soil. The more I work in the dirt, and with plants, I find that God created this world with all the healing things we need to live a healthy life. The problem is when we start complicating things.

Growing your own from seed before spring gets you in the dirt!

They are saying some of the stress or anxieties people suffer could be cured by just getting out in nature and connecting. I am not minimizing people that suffer from chemical imbalances for those are severe, and often medication is the only relief for people that suffer from these kinds of health issues. I am not implying that getting out in nature will magically cure chemical imbalances that people suffer. It is good we have medicine that can help us live a healthy life. I am talking about anxiety attacks that are due to increased stress in people's life. My anxiety attacks are not life-threatening, but they feel that way at times.

"As humans become less connected with nature, we lose an essential health buffer. “There is mounting evidence that contact with nature has significant positive impacts on mental health,” said Mardie Townsend, Ph.D., an honorary professor at the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University in Australia."(read more here)

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spring flowers will be pushing through soon!

We live in such a fast-paced world that it is becoming more and more common to hear about people suffering from anxiety attacks. Mine started in 2000 after my health crisis. I really don't have full-blown anxiety attacks anymore, but mine are physical enough that they cause me to cancel some of my plans. I often feel it is my fear of having one that causes an attack more than having one. They have found that the places you have them can trigger another one.I have learned to deal with them over the years and have fewer, but these long winters inside, away from the sunshine tend to make them more regular! It is embarrassing to talk about them with people for they often look at you differently. However, as  I talk more openly about them, I am discovering more people that suffer. I have a few friends that have gone to the emergency room thinking they were having a heart attack and were told it was an anxiety attack. It is more common than you think these days.

These effects may be linked with an inborn need of humans to connect with nature. The biophilia hypothesis by Wilson and Kellert claim that we “have an innate love for the natural world, universally felt by all, and resulting at least in part from our genetic make-up and evolutionary history.”5 Our separation from nature has been relatively recent. In the last 250 years, Townsend points out, and we have not adapted to this division.

She believes that the growing disconnection with our natural environment is exacerbating the escalating rates of mental illness and that mental health professionals should be prescribing time in nature as often as possible, as well as advocating on the policy level to help ensure access to green spaces for everyone.

“For this to happen, high-quality parks, gardens and nature reserves need to be nearby,

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Now that I start annual flowers, veggies, and herbs inside I find my hands are in the soil and I am under lights in the growing room. These disconnects from outside are helped by growing plants from seed. If you have the time and enjoy watching things grow it really helps to grow your own plants from seed. It lifts your spirits to be under the lights and digging in the soil.

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  Here is my mess this season that will greet me....Yep, it all was overgrown with weeds last fall. It is an empty slate to be rebuilt with a new herbal garden. Having older homes means sometimes rebuilding from the ground up. It makes a mess sometimes, but I see it as a new chance to get my hands in the healing soil. Are you creating a new green space, or rebuilding one that might have been destroyed? The best thing about getting outside and digging in the dirt is it heals....and once you start you become addicted!!! If you find stress in your life is over the top, get outside and create a new garden. It will lift your spirits!

Published by Robbie Palm