This is what the sun does for your mind

June 22, 2022

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The sun is not only an important source of health for your body but madame Soleil is a gift for your mental health as well. Here are a few important advantages

Sunlight puts you in a good mood

On sunny days we are happy more often and we have more energy. There is both a psychological and a biological reason for this.

We associate sunlight with fun things, such as the sun, sea, the beach, holidays, going for a walk, BBQs and enjoyment. Those associations already have a positive impact on our mood.

Additionally, there are also biological components playing a role. The hormone melatonin, the so-called sleep hormone, regulates our day-night rhythm. When there is less light, our melatonin levels rise and we start to feel drowsy. Some people even start to feel depressed due to a lack of sunlight. But the other way around works too: an abundance of sunlight represses the production of melatonin, which generally gives us a biological uplift.

We are less stressed.

Scientific research confirms that sunlight can reduce stress. The various rhythms we live in, the seasons and the amount of sunlight cannot be viewed separately from the systems regulating stress.

When we open our curtains in the morning and see the sun shining, we think subconsciously of happy things, such as an upcoming holiday. Which allows us to start the day in a good mood. Those associations definitely impact our stress levels.

Walking keeps our brain healthy

Sunlight encourages us to spend more time outside and go for a hike. And hiking has a positive impact on our brain. Why? Hiking in the sun keeps your brain healthy. According to the Irish neuroscientist Shane O’Mara it enhances your well-being and it keeps your brain young. In his book ‘In Praise of Walking’ he writes that, when our body kicks into action, so does our brain.

Going for a hike regularly slows down the ageing process of our brain and can, to some extent, reverse the ageing of our brain. Additionally, hiking is associated as well with a boost in creativity and sharper thinking. While you are walking around, various areas in your brain are stimulated, which improves our hearing, sight and reaction speed. Our brain cells form new connections more easily, which facilitates problem-solving and decision-making.

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maartje vanewijk

Annelies Theunissen
People Sustainability Expert

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