Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sunshine... oh how I love thee!

I almost certainly sure that the majority of Melbournians today feel great. Why? Take a look outside! The sun is shining and the sky is blue!

Our bodies are so in tune with nature, and respond rapidly to changes in the environment. This means that we experience lows and highs according to our surroundings. According to Dr. Norman Rosenthal, author of Seasons of the Mind: Why You Get the Winter Blues (Bantam Books), Temperature affects the hypothalamus, that part of the brain that serves as the body's thermostat. Sunlight alters the balance of hormones. Changes in humidity and barometric pressure lead to changes in blood flow and the amount of oxygen reaching the brain.

The elation we experience in Spring, is actually a physiological response to more sunlight. Sun rays on our skin activates Vitamin D, releasing it into the endocrine system, when then sets about releasing hormones. These hormones create more blood, increasing blood pressure, increasing oxygen to the brain... and then what do you know... you feel awesome!

Reality is, it is Melbourne. We can see several seasons in the same hour. So what do we do when the clouds come over and its gloomy out? We can learn from what the sun provides us with (increased oxygen flow), and use this in times when our bodies aren't coping with the surrounding environment. Eating fresh foods, especially colourful vegetables can provide the body with quick boosts of nutrients to do perk us up. Incorporating these in the later winter months may just help us get through the tail end of winter.

So we can learn a few things just by observation. Sunlight is good for us because it makes us happy not only on the outside but the inside too because it increases blood flow and delivers more oxygen. In any case, increasing oxygen flow in the body, will always have a balancing effect. I think I might be onto something - maybe I have found the best anxiety cure of all. Get outside and make your day better. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

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