Today is the first day of Spring in Australia and somehow, psychologically, it has put me in a better mood. I've opened the windows to let the sunshine in the house and declared that we will no longer be sick ( having had a couple of weeks of colds and flu). I've been out in the garden this morning, celebrating the new season.
Spring euphoria is not an illusion — it can be scientifically explained.
Three German researchers in different disciplines were asked to describe the relationship between good weather and happy moods. ( from World Crunch )
The psychologist. Human beings are programmed to rest when it’s dark, and to be active and in high spirits when it’s light, says Peter Walschburger, professor emeritus of biopsychology at the Freie Universität Berlin. “We react massively to light,” so conscious experience and human behavior change radically on fine spring days.
Scents and bird song also influence us, Walschburger says.
The endocrinologist. Sunshine changes our hormonal balance. Hormones that have a particularly strong influence on our moods are the sleep hormone melatonin and the happiness hormone serotonin, explains Helmut Schatz, spokesman for the German Society of Endocrinology.
When it gets light earlier and the sun shines more strongly, more light hits the eye. Thus the pineal gland — sometimes called the third eye — sends an order to the brain to lower melatonin production, “which makes us more lively.”
The doctor. People are sensitive to weather and always have been. “It’s in our genes, it’s ancient,” says medical meteorologist Gerhard Lux of the DWD weather service. Though our wellbeing in no longer weather-dependent — because of air-conditioning and heating — the weather still influences us.
In spring, both the sun’s rays and a seasonal rhythm are responsible for a spring in our steps. In principle, it’s a positive sign, when the body reacts positively to a beautiful day, he says. “It’s a sign that things are in good working order.”
I hope the photos of Spring in my garden have also improved your mood today.