Back when I had my nationally syndicated radio show, Animal Wise Radio, we frequently spoke to experts on the topic of Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), a serious issue afflicting many people in our society today. Though it is not officially recognized by any medical research center, growing evidence supports the notion that being physically and emotionally connected to nature is good for the body, mind and spirit. It only makes sense, therefore, that not being connected to nature (and animals) can have detrimental effects.
Symptoms of NDD can look like attention deficit disorder or a general disconnectedness to others. It can also present with signs of sadness or even depression.
We have known for many years that spending time in nature can quickly relieve the symptoms of NDD and more recently, a group of scientists concluded that spending even 2 hours per week in nature can have all kinds of positive benefits to overall health and well-being. Now, it turns out, that your home vegetable garden can provide all of the benefits of being in nature, particularly if you garden organically and in cooperation with nature.
The National Health Service (NHS) of England has been issuing non-medical "social prescriptions" for years to help patients deal with a host of psychological challenges. Now, those prescriptions even include gardening. They say the benefits of gardening are many and go far beyond helping to change a person's eating habits, which alone are good reason to start growing some of your own food.
Growing some of your own food also helps you feel connected to the Earth and nature. And, that feeling of contentedness itself has physical and mental benefits. It is a simple act with profound impacts that go far beyond benefiting the gardeners. It is also good for nature and helps people leave a lighter footprint on the planet.
In our technology-driven society, with all the stress and chaos of modern society, the simple act of growing some food may be just the prescription we all need to bring our lives into clearer focus.