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Does sunshine really brighten our days?

March 11, 2019

Sunshine matters. A lot. The idea isn't exactly new, but according to Psychologist Alicia Hinger, when it comes to your mental and emotional health, the amount of time between sunrise and sunset is the weather variable that matters most.

Your day might be filled with irritatingly hot temperatures, thick air pollution and maybe even pockets of rainclouds, but that won't necessarily get you down. If you're able to soak up enough sun, your level of emotional distress should remain stable. Take away sun time, though, and your distress can spike. This applies to the population at large, not just those diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

"Weather influences our psychology in myriad subtle ways. Why this might be the case is not entirely obvious. One possibility is that the effects of weather on mood are primarily physiological. Excess heat causes discomfort by taxing our capacity to thermoregulate, and this causes irritability and aggression", says Psychologist Alicia Hinger.

Perhaps it is not the sunshine that matters so much as the pleasure we get when our weather changes.