What makes spring-time so special?

New beginnings Samsung Annicol. A fresh start. New hope. The word “spring” reminds us of greenery, freshness and optimism; a new burst of well-being.  It has much to do with the literal emergence from a cold, wintry space into a fresh and greener place. But is that all there is to it?

SAD no more

Scientists say spring may be more than skin-deep. “It’s a hopeful time for people,” explains Edward Mackey from the Mind-Body Institute of Applied Psycho-physiology. In Psychology Magazine, he writes: Spring can signify new beginnings.”

It’s also a time where sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be uplifted after a long winter. This condition is a type of depression that’s linked to changes in seasons. It’s very real and sufferers typically feel sad, down and moody at the onset of winter. “SAD is most often associated with decreased sunlight levels as the sun is not high in the sky,” says Mackey.

Lighten up

All the season’s gloom melts away when spring begins. The days are warmer and the sun shines brighter. None of the other seasons can match up to the hope that comes with spring. But what does this mean for you?

The increased light arrives earlier in the morning and leaves a little later in the evening. This can have a direct effect on your mood. A study published in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience indicates a connection between sunlight and serotonin. Increased sunlight exposure increases the production of serotonin in the brain and the gut. Serotonin, a key stimulatory neurotransmitter in the nervous system, is a vital ingredient in many antidepressant drugs. It plays a major role in anxiety, mood, and happiness.

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Serotonin can also affect the functioning of our cardiovascular system, muscles, and the endocrine system, regulating the body’s growth, metabolism, sexual function and development.

The extra daylight is great for kick-starting your fitness routine again too.

Better spring brain

Your body and mind function at its optimal level when it receives prime fuel. High quality-foods that are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals nourish the body and the brain. The brain can be damaged if you take in harmful ingredients that lead to oxidative stress which can damage cells.

But with spring comes a fresh batch of fruits and vegetables that are both essential for your body and brain health.

Fruits of the season

  • Apricots: two to three fresh apricots can provide you with your daily supply of iron.
  • Oranges: oranges are a great way to get a dose of Vitamin C.
  • Guavas: high in Vitamin C, lycopene and antioxidants that are good for the skin.
  • Watermelons: high in lycopene which is essential for cardiovascular health and bone health.

It’s not just the idea of Spring that makes you feel happy – it’s in your physiology. So, make the most of this season, and get out in the sun; it’s good for your mood, and great for your body!

References