Spring has sprung – but why does it make us feel so good? The joys of spring definitely feel like a real thing. Everything just seems more light and upbeat once the sunshine creeps in and we’re out of the depths of winter.
But why do we feel so much better when spring rolls around? Is it all in our heads?
“Waking up to bird song, sunshine and warmth throughout spring can be hugely uplifting, evoking the happiness, optimism and positivity that many of us struggle with in winter,” says Dr Tom MacLaren, consultant psychiatrist at Re:Cognition Health.
“These months can bring lots of benefits to our psychological, physical and mental health.”
Reconnecting with nature
The natural world starts to bloom back to life at this time of year.
“Nature connectedness can help improve our mental health, with the fresh air, longer days and calmness of open spaces offering a retreat and distraction from our standard routines, being closer to greenery, gardens and parks that will provide a boost to your energy and sense of wellness,” says MacLaren. “The colourful, fragranced blossoms can also be uplifting and make us appreciate the beauty of nature.”
Getting out and about more
More daylight and warmer temperatures means we’re more inclined to get moving outdoors, too.
“Finding the motivation to go out for a run in the cold, dark and miserable conditions of winter can be very difficult, but the longer, brighter days of spring afford no excuses, meaning we are more likely to be physically active,” adds MacLaren.
“Walking or cycling short distances, rather than driving, becomes a joy, and just by walking outdoors, the risk of heart disease, diabetes and even depression is reduced.”
Prepare to bloom
Spring can also be a fabulous time to try something new, or tap back into forgotten joys.
“In contrast to the inward, cocooning vibe of winter, spring carries a dynamic, outward-looking energy. This time of year is all about taking action, so go ahead and take a leap. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone – spring is prompting us to blossom, just like the trees around us,” says functional medicine health coach Suzy Glaskie, founder of Peppermint Wellness and host of the Midlife Illuminated podcast.
“Take up that hobby you’ve always wanted to try but never got around to. Begin that new project you’ve been procrastinating about. Start taking small steps towards thriving… Spring offers us a fresh slate to move forward and create the life we really want.
“Don’t worry if your new year’s resolutions to get healthy fell by the wayside weeks ago. The ‘New Year/New You’ mantra doesn’t align with our natural rhythm – the middle of winter is no time for us to suddenly bounce forth with an entirely new set of habits, and breaking our resolutions leaves us feeling frustrated and disheartened with ourselves. Spring is a far better time to focus on our wellbeing and start to cultivate new healthy habits that will boost our physical, emotional and mental health, and improve our self-esteem,” Glaskie adds.
Let there be light
The joys of spring owe a lot to the increase in daylight, which can have positive effects psychologically and physically.
“Watching the sunrise and changing light during the day is a great way to reset that body clock, if you have missed sleep,” adds MacLaren. “Watching the sunset is also a very beautiful and therapeutic experience, helping us unwind, relieving stress and providing us with inspiration – many authors, painters and poets have used the sunset as their muse.”
The spring and summer months are also when we’re naturally able to make enough vitamin D though increased sunlight exposure (keeping sun safety in mind, of course).
“Those longer and sunnier days will be topping up your vitamin D, a great boost to your immune system, which also helps keep your bones healthy,” says MacLaren. “Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression, so this sunshine vitamin is not only beneficial for our bones but also our mood and mental health.”
All of this can add up to a renewed sense of motivation, which
can in turn bring added rewards.
“It is a great time to get work done and be more productive. With the sun rising earlier, you will have more energy to meet friends, take time off, complete DIY projects and even travel. The longer day means you’ll have time to gradually wind down in the evening and even enjoy eating outdoors, socialising with friends and fitting more into the day,” suggests MacLaren.
“All this activity provides a lot more cognitive stimulation than winter. Your mind and brain will be busier processing your increased activity levels, and this boosts your memory and helps protect against conditions like dementia.
“We also tend to be much more social in the warmer months, which is crucial to our mental health,” he adds. “Friendships help reduce stress and anxiety, improve self-confidence and help reduce the risk of many health conditions including obesity, blood pressure and even dementia.”
(Article source: Silver Surfers)