This morning when we pulled back into the driveway after our workout, my friend Lisa got this big grin on her face. “Look! Blue sky!” What a welcome sight. I jumped right into a snow bank and snapped this photo. There’s something transformative about sunshine—especially after an endless string of gray snowy days. I love snow, especially in December. Snow changes in January. It’s not as magical. And it’s colder. By February it’s lost its “Oh, isn’t that pretty!” appeal altogether.
I’ve spent too long in places where it’s dark and cold. I’m ready for spring to arrive. Maybe cause I suffer from SAD. It stands for “season affective disorder” and it’s a form of depression triggered by the changing seasons. At night when it’s dark your body produces a hormone called melatonin. This is produced in specialized tissue and in your pineal glands. Melatonin helps you sleep.
During a sunny day your body produces the hormone serotonin. It’s a neurotransmitter that does many amazing things; including helping you stay awake and alert. It keeps the brain communicating properly. It plays a key role in your mood, appetite, memory and sex drive. You’ve probably heard of “feel good” hormones. Serotonin is right up there at the top of the list—linked directly to happiness. It increases your ability to ward off stress, anxiety and depression. Insufficient serotonin leads to an imbalanced life.
If you live in a land of shadows your doctor might prescribe phototherapy where you are subjected to a light box that simulates sunshine to help produce sufficient serotonin. Thankfully, today you don’t need a light box. All you need is a fifteen minute exposure to blue sky and sunlight. Think of it as God turning on the lights. When that happens everything gets brighter—even your brain.
(Hey friends, thank you for reading this blog. It means so much to me, and I learn a lot from you. I’ve never ventured to a more enthralling place than inside the human brain, and the fact that you’re willing to go with me makes the journey that much more meaningful. So please, keep reading and sharing.)