The massive ball of fire that provides us light and sunshine every day does so much more than bring us much-needed Vitamin D and energy.
According to National Geographic, the sun “radiates light and heat, or solar energy, which makes it possible for life to exist on Earth.” Without the sun, there would be no plants, no animals, no winds, clouds, or even ocean currents. In fact without the power of the sun, our planet would cease to exist as we know it.
Aside from the life-giving tangible properties of the sun, this bountiful and beautiful star also provides us with life for our minds and mental health.
The Sun and Your Mental Health
It is funny because as I am writing this, I just laid down on the ground of my living room in the one patch of sun that is shining inside. If that does not speak to humans’ natural desire to be in the sun, then I don’t know what does.
We all know the feeling of the sun splashing on our face for a kiss of warmth. Laying on beaches basking in the sun and consuming its rays. Sitting at a park or at a restaurant during golden hour. There is simply nothing better than feeling the beauty and power of the sun on your skin, in your life, and in the world around you.
Let’s look at the facts in favor of the importance and power that the sun has in our lives.
- During Daylight Savings Time and the darker fall and winter months, people experience shorter days filled with less access to sunlight, which often results in seasonal depression. Less access to daylight hours can amplify seasonal depression which causes our minds and bodies to struggle. This makes a lot of sense, as we can see the effects of the sun missing from our lives through nature. Plants die or withdraw, animals hibernate and do not return until the sun becomes more prominent, and people cozy up in their homes to rest and recuperate.
- Additionally, sunlight triggers the two balancing chemicals in our body: serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin’s role in our minds and body is to “ elevate your mood, create calmness, and increase focus.” Those are some powerful characteristics in the line of mental wellness. On the flipside of hormone balancing, sunlight also triggers a different hormone when the sun starts to wane and darkness falls upon us: melatonin. Melatonin is the chemical that “makes you feel sleepy at the end of the day.” This is your body’s way of stabilizing and naturalizing your circadian rhythm in order to give you the best possible sleep and energy to take on each day
- Finally, during the daylight hours is the time when we generally get to do the things we love. Spending time in nature, tending to our garden, going on hikes, reading at the park, taking a stroll around the lake, riding our bikes through trails, and anything else you are into are all things that typically require a little bit of light to practice.
The things that give us life and joy are the things that we get to do outside. Nature nurtures us every day without us even noticing. Take in the power of the energy surrounding you, embodying you, and covering you in all directions. Take a moment to appreciate the power of the sun, of the rain, of nature, and allow it to fill you up and know that it is nurturing your garden, wherever it grows.