It can be strange to think that a great ball of fire billions of miles away can have anything to do with what’s happening in your head right now, here on Earth.
As with many wonders of nature and science, we’ve discovered that ultraviolet rays from the sun do impact our everyday lives. Not only in a physical sense, but in how they relate to us internally concerning our mental state.
Studies show that an estimated 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Why is that important? Here’s what the sun, our most significant source for vitamin D, can do for your mental health.
It Helps with Mood Regulation
The absorption of vitamin D can activate the release of neurotransmitters that affect your mood. Our response to vitamin D is key to the location of our receptors that receive and react to the nutrients. These affect overall temperament, therefore, having a mood-balancing effect.
Taking in the sunshine can facilitate the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which helps to regulate mood positively.
Less cognitively, warmth transmitted from the sun can have a positive effect on feeling nurtured, and calm. It can also help us feel more connected with nature and broaden a world that can feel like it’s closing in.
Fights Seasonal Depression
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs seasonally in a pattern. It is defined as a depressive episode that directly coincides with specific seasons, for a minimum of two years.
Of course, two years is only a diagnostic criterion. Seasonal depression does not start at the diagnosis and isn’t necessarily consummated in two years.
Sunshine is a known approach for the treatment of SAD concerning patients who experience symptoms in winter months. When inaccessible, sunshine is substituted and replicated by artificial light in light therapy.
Exposure to sunshine is often used in tandem with vitamin D supplementation, counseling, and proper nutrition.
Soak Up the Sunshine
If you feel that your mood tends to change when you decrease sunlight exposure, do your best to get out in the sun.
- Lower your car window while driving
- Take short breaks outdoors throughout the day
- Wake up early and catch the sunrise
- No sunlight? Consider undergoing light therapy
Consult with a physician if your moods worsen, experience feelings of depression, or symptoms of SAD.