Apparently sunshine may affect human emotions. Who would have thought? At this time of year, information from the latest scientific queries come across the radio, TV, and internet. Magazines and newspapers offer the top 5 tips to avoid the seasonal blues. Which number should sunshine be? Will the research help us?
Now, the real question is: does empirical research tell us sunshine is a good thing, or does common sense?
In this part of the world the past week has seen some extraordinarily sunny days shine through the usual winter greyness. Colleagues, friends, family and passerbys can all be overheard expressing their happiness at the sun, and how much better they feel. I don’t know of a single person who has mentioned that they are upset about the days getting noticeably longer, or a frown coming on when they see the clouds scatter. Personally, I find the psychological surge to be almost tangible now that I can leave work and there still be daylight. All of this seems to lead me to believe common sense is a good indicator of sunshine’s affects on peoples’ moods.
A balanced post would probably look into the empirical research on sunshine. This post will not be balanced; doesn’t have to be in my mind. The space would be better spent encouraging you to get off the computer and out into the growing sunshine and lengthening days. I had a fantastic weekend, and spending time outside in the sun, snowshoeing, taking a ferry, being with great friends (and of course a little footie with little buddies) were the perfect ingredients for making it fantastic. We do have control over most of these ingredients, only the sun isn’t at our beck and call. Common sense seems to suggest that to avoid the winter blahs we need to put in a little effort to get active, see friends, play with kids, or do whatever we enjoy. Of course the sun doesn’t hurt. Common sense also suggests we should take full advantage when its out.
We’ll have more empirical research bashing and common sense defining in the future no doubt. For now, do you have any winter sunshine stories, or ways you beat the winter blahs? Comment below.