Sunlight, physical activity, and contact with nature are beneficial to the brain, and a new study brings further proof to this idea. People who spent about an hour a day in “farming” activities, from gardening to agriculture, had a lower risk of depression. How much lower? About 50%, and the risk went down as they spent more time cultivating the land under the sun.

We have a pretty good idea of why this is. Mood disorders are caused in part by a breakdown of the body’s internal clock. In the morning, a good dose of sunlight and physical activity helps set the clock. Exercise treats depression and strengths brain cells. Finally, contact with nature, from gardening to forest walks, reduces the ruminative style of negative thinking that’s common in depression.