Summer is finally here, bestowing us with beautiful and revitalizing sunlight. And while excessive skin exposure to sun rays can be harmful, sunlight actually helps us regulate our biorhythm, uplifts our mood, and is irreplaceable for our health and overall well-being.
Sun therapy––or Sunbath therapy which involves controlled exposure to the sun to improve well-being––has been popular since antiquity. The first one to write about Sun therapy or Heliotherapy was the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who is still credited as the father of clinical medicine. And the centuries proved him correct, as Sun exposure and phototherapy are proven effective for treating many diseases.
But sun therapy isn’t just about physical health. As the old Latin proverb says: “Mens sana in corpore sano.” The mind and the body have an unbreakable relationship, and the positive, rewarding benefits of sunlight exposure extend to emotional health.
Along with many other benefits, sunlight also activates particular groups of receptors in the eye’s retina that signal the brain to release more serotonin. A study conducted in (believe it or not) California revealed that a lack of sunlight exposure resulted in hampered mood and symptoms of depression among the citizens of San Diego. This concludes that sun exposure helps us feel happier and more vitalized.
Summer is this perfect opportunity to start fresh and build mindful, life-changing habits like gratitude practice and positive daily affirmations in your life. This is also the time to add sun therapy to your daily routine for a healthier lifestyle.
Daily Routines and Sun Therapy
Once the spring is here, we tend to rush outside to enjoy picnics and mindful walks in the sunlight and light breeze. But once it's summer, the heat may cross a certain threshold to the point that all we want to do is to turn on our air conditioners. While keeping a cool head helps us stay more productive in the summer, our mood can take a hit if we stay out of the sunlight for too long.
So, let’s take a look at the main benefits of sunlight and see how we can organize our daily routine to get the best out of summertime.
The Benefits of Sun Exposure
Sun exposure is important for obtaining the optimal levels of Vitamin D, which can play a crucial role in strengthening the immune system, improving life expectancy, and balancing the mood in case of seasonal affective disorder and depression, as it promotes an enhanced production of serotonin. Sun therapy is also recommended as a beneficial supplementary treatment for bipolar disorder and many other neurological and physical disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple sclerosis.
But that’s not all. Sunlight is nature’s organic mood lifter. Because of the neural activity it elicits, light makes us more awake and alert and, thus, ready to take on new challenges and get more creative when dealing with problems.
Habits for Sun Therapy
How to incorporate sun therapy into our summer days? The simplest way is to commit to being exposed to the sun each day of the summer. Of course, there are parts of the day when you should limit your exposure, such as between noon and five in the afternoon, when the UV radiation is the strongest, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid sunbathing altogether.
If you like to exercise, consider moving your exercise routine outdoors, and combine the exercise-induced endorphin high with the sun’s positive effects on your mood.
If you’re lucky to have a garden or a nice balcony, you can enjoy your hobbies and meals outdoors in the sun and fresh air. You can place flower pots and comfortable seating in your space to make it your little power space for sun gazing and relaxation.
Beach holidays are always an excellent opportunity to catch some sun while reading a book by the water, meditating while listening to the calming sound of waves, or swimming. A 2017 study showed that touching the sand with your bare feet can reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall well-being, so you can just allow yourself to be in the moment and let the beach absorb your worries and stress.
The Sun and the Inner Self
Adapting our habits to incorporate more sunlight into our lives can be a holistic approach for our physical and mental well-being. But what about our emotions and soul? Can our inner self be touched by the sun as well?
Physically, the sun provides warmth, energy, and light––three concepts that are also important for our spiritual well-being. Sunlight revitalizes and energizes our inner self. We calm down, relax, and fill up with new positive energy.
When it’s sunny outside, we tend to warm up emotionally and become more friendly, approachable, and happier. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your desire to socialize, communicate, and spend time in public spaces increases on summer days compared to the cold winter months when everything slows down and life naturally becomes more withdrawn.
Sun therapy brings the joy of life, curiosity, and adventurous spirit to our inner self. Sun elevates our serotonin level and makes us more excited, allowing our inner self to flourish and grow. It is usually a time when people decide to start anew and reinvent themselves.
Summer is a great time to look at gratitude in a new way and make it a part of your overall attitude. Joy is already everywhere in summer, and it’s much easier to appreciate the beauty of life and its bounties.
It’s so easy to spot things to be grateful for in summer: the juicy fruits, the heady smell of the flowers, the feeling of water on our skin, the longer days, the ease of spending time in nature, and so much more. The inner self has so many opportunities to heal and reach new potentials during summer.
Sun therapy is an excellent way of elevating your mood and improving your overall mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. We often mention how spending time outdoors can be therapeutic and blissful, and that’s partially thanks to the sun, which sustains life in nature and within us.