Sunshine Makes Us Happy!

 SUN yantra Mandala, available at  holisticspaces.com

SUN yantra Mandala, available at holisticspaces.com

I've said it before, and it's pretty believable during summer months, but sunshine literally makes us happy. Think back to the last time you spent some time in the sun. When you step into the natural light and feel the warmth on your face, how do you feel? Do you feel content, maybe even blissful? I sure do! 

As it turns out, this happiness we get from spending time in the sun isn't just psychological. The presence of sunlight actually physically makes us happier! Here's how. 

Sunlight helps us produce serotonin, which is the chemical in our brains responsible for keeping us positive and happy. In many people who experience depression, serotonin levels are lower than normal, which results in a lower level of happiness. This also explains the phenomenon, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), where people seem to be more depressed in the winter. What don't we see a lot of during the winter? That's right, the sun! Sunlight can help us all to produce the right amount of serotonin to keep our spirits high and our smiles wide. 

Based on studies across the world, sunlight can actually help to combat certain diseases, like high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer. Of course, spending TOO much time in the sun can actually lead to skin cancer, but getting natural Vitamin D in smaller doses can help prevent certain cancers. In addition, being in warm sunlight can loosen the body's muscles and tendons, which can be helpful in easing the pain of certain conditions like arthritis. 

Sunlight gives us more energy. Spending time in the sun also affects another of our brain's chemicals, melatonin. If you've never heard of it before, melatonin is the substance our brains release when it's time to calm down and go to sleep. The sun suppresses this chemical, making us feel more energized, and therefore happier! 

There are countless other perks to spending time in the sun, but it's very clear that one huge benefit is that natural sunlight can make us happy. In fact, without it, many people tend to become depressed and suffer from low energy, so it seems that the sun is actually an integral part of our happiness. So get outside and soak up some healthy rays!

by Anjie Cho