Get Me Out Of The Fog!
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
We are desperately seeking relief this January as the stress and cortisol levels surge among us after a busy holiday and the dark days cloud our moods. As a therapist I witness my fair share of people struggling with depression. These winter months can be some of the most difficult days. We often find ourselves trying to make up for the blues with more eating, sleeping, drinking, shopping etc. Which can be fun sometimes, but it has its limitations.
Everyone is in for a treat when the sun pops out, whether you are among the high percentage of people that suffer from depression and seasonal affective disorder or not. We have some days of sunlight to enjoy and scientifically this will make a huge impact on increased motivation and mood for everyone if we take advantage of it. Exposure to sunlight on the skin and eyes is known to increase vitamin D levels which is great for alleviating the winter blues. But even more remarkably, sunlight can help to increase neuro chemicals in the brain that improve mood and motivation. Yes, sunny days make people happy psychologically and there is science behind it too.
The science behind this is pretty simple when you break it down to layman’s terms. Basically, the special ultraviolet rays need to enter a certain part of our eyes for at least 30 minutes. Once this occurs our body’s endocrine system which regulates certain hormones and chemicals, sends the appropriate messages to start a positive chemical process in our brains. The chemical process includes motivational and feel good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline). And it’s free. If you are really struggling and 30 minutes seems like too much, set a smaller goal and shoot for 5 or 10 minutes and go from there.
I plan on taking my dogs out for a couple of walks this weekend and going for a run or two. Bye the way, pets and exercise are also very healthy ways to release those brain chemicals that we all are looking for. Combining the sunlight exposure with pets and walking is a win/win situation for all parties. I feel better, the dogs feel better and the people that I am around this weekend get a more cheerful version of me.
I am adding a link to a sun therapy lamp that is used to get the ultraviolet rays needed when there is no sunlight out. Click Here