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Light Therapy for Happiness

Last Updated on April 23, 2012 by Angela V | 0 comments

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Bet you never knew that light could change the way you felt about things. It’s a scientifically proven fact; light affects the release of hormones in your body, mainly those that control your sleep-wake cycle, which is why it’s a lot easier to fall asleep with the lights off.

More importantly, light can also have some bearing on your mood. In fact, lack of regular exposure to sunlight has been known to lead to seasonal affective disorder, a condition characterized by depression and mood swings. It is also linked to why many suicides take place in the winter months, when people tend to be cooped up indoors.

Experts have recommended exposure to special kinds of light for individuals suffering from depression and other mood disorders. It’s actually quite convenient; all it takes is for you to sit under a lamp for a certain period of time each day. It’s called light therapy, and it sure beats having to take a multitude of drugs that leave you with unpleasant side effects.

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It’s possible to chase away those annoying blues by simply changing your level of exposure to light. Sunlight is always the preferred kind of lighting, but that’s not always a feasible option all year round. This is why special light bulbs are used to mimic the same positive effects that sunlight has in restoring the body’s natural hormonal balance and circadian rhythms. Scientists have identified certain photo receptors in the human eye that allow you to recognize and respond to light.

As you already know, this contributes significantly to one’s mood. The photo receptors trigger the hypothalamus, which nudges the pineal gland to start producing serotonin, which is a hormone that renders you more energetic and alert. Without serotonin, you’d be curled up in the blankets thinking it would be better if you’d just slept the day away in bed, and hypersomnia does not a happy camper make.

Ensure that these light bulbs are exactly the right type, because depression and SAD respond better to a specific wavelength, which you can’t exactly find in an ordinary incandescent light bulb. You can even get a prescription from a doctor, to be absolutely sure. If you don’t have access to sunlight, stay in bright places and think happy thoughts. It may be snowing out, but at least you don’t have to be gloomy on the inside as well.

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