Ever wondered why you spend so much time in the garden? Or why you seem to be drawn to the vegetable patch to get away from life on the inside (inside the house or office, I mean). Well you are not alone, my friend; it appears that there’s a few of us leaping into the dirt to get our “fix” of gardening for a very good reason.
When food is gathered, i.e harvested from your garden or hunted down in the wild whilst foraging for edible weeds or fishing or hunting wild game, a rush of dopamine is released. Now if you didn’t already know, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. So when the reward centre of our brain receives this rush of dopamine, we get an emotional response much like a state of bliss or mild euphoria.
Not only do we experience this harvest “high”, but we are also inclined to act on this response, so we do more to promote it. I guess we might even go and plough up another vegetable garden to grow more vegetables. Or maybe devour a few more gardening catalogues, sourcing more and more vegetables that we haven’t tried before.
For those of us who really get off on this harvest high, we can become addicted to gardening!
Dopamine is in the same category as some addictive drugs like cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines. Let me say that you have now been warned, so go easy hunting down those delicious, voluptuous, ripe red strawberries.
If you’re a daily “user” and harvest those zucchinis every day, you may find that you are perhaps providing yourself with some health benefits with an increased amount of dopamine in your system. Parkinson’s Disease has been associated with a deficiency of dopamine in some people. Can I suggest daily gardening may be a better doctor’s prescription than some other drugs?
So there you have it, it’s official ……
Gardening does make you happy and it really is addictive!