My way of dealing less having less light as fall and winter months and stress is to take advantage of morning light. I've been having my first cup of coffee out on the porch with my pride of cats. My porch faces the southeast. The air is fresh and now that we’re in October, a bit brisk. I’m like a flower soaking up the rays. It sets my mood for the rest of my day. I’m not out long, maybe thirty or forty minutes, but the infusion of bright light and warm rays make me feel good.
One of the reasons is sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates our moods. The morning sunlight raises the levels of serotonin high enough to set a more positive mood and allows quiet reflection and mental focus. I've been under enormous stress lately, which is a negative, and it does affect my mood and my body. I look for simple and natural ways to offset the negatives. The sunlight also helps my body and mind with the release of endorphins—a natural, built in antidepressant. The sunlight bathing the skin with light also dilates the small blood vessels in the skin providing more oxygen and nutrients to the cells and is a positive way to calm my heart and blood pressure—not that I have hypertension, but stress and pain can increase blood pressure. Stress equals negative chain reactions in our bodies. Sunlight counters that. Vitamin D is absorbed from sunlight and it boosts your immune system, and sunlight encourages the growth of white blood cells that fight infections and other ills. Sunlight can help lower your blood sugars and pushes your body to store the glucose rather than release them to feed the whole fight or flight feeling.
Being in the early morning sunlight is a positive for me. It’s a quiet time. I can put my thoughts in order to handle my day more effectively. Being with my animals, stroking the soft fur and being loved on also helps. They also make me smile and laugh with their antics. I walk out to greet my dogs and horses and it gives me time to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the splashes of color still blooming in my yard or notice the trees that are starting put forth color in their leaves. Or catching the sparkle of dew on a spider web or the trail of cat prints in the grass. All good things that make me feel at peace regardless of what is going on in my life.
Throughout the day I take my breaks outside in the sunshine. I love late afternoon sunlight as well and especially after a long day at my computer. I try to take about fifteen minutes to sit and watch the golden sunlight bathe the back pastures and the surrounding hills. It gives me a few minutes to relax and reset my mind before having to start dinner deal with the night. I sleep better, too.
How do you handle the stress in your life?