Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer, Sunshine and Serotonin

It's dark and rainy here today. It
kind of makes me feel cozy and quiet.
For some people, it makes them
depressed if exposed to rain and darkness
for a long period of time.
Do rainy days affect your mood?
It is very common for sunshine to boost
your mood, or rainy days to dampen it
(no pun intended!) It is called
Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It doesn't usually happen with the occassional
dreary day, but with long term dark days
and lack of sunshine, such as the winter
months or in countries where the hours of daylight
are extremely short, such as Scandanavia or
the state of Alaska.
The number of people with clinical depression
is greatly increased in these areas and the
suicide rates are even higher there.
I've never felt like the weather affected my
mood, but I do have a few friends who start
to feel their mood darken by the end of the winter.
Sunshine increases Serotonin, a
natural chemical in the brain that boosts your mood.
One of the boys' doctors has recommended
15 minutes of unprotected sunshine daily.
Natural sunlight prevents depression,
strengthens bones, and prevents some
kinds of cancer.
So, don't forget to soak up
some sunshine...it's actually good for you!


  1. I love rain when it's unexpected. Around here in Nothern California, rain is the norm. I'm happy when it first starts to rain for the year, but after a while it stinks. I love storms though, they make it cozy. Parker hates rain, but loves puddles. I hope you get some sunshine soon. It's grey here today. I'd prefer the rain!

  2. Bobbi ~ The clouds are making it cooler here! I love storms, too! Unless they make the electricity go off....that is just too hard to explain to the triplets! OH my! But to sit and watch a storm is fun!

  3. It's dark and dreary today in my corner of England and it feels cozy. Generally I'm okay with rainy, dark weather but it does start to effect my mood when it lasts for months on end. Spring was late coming this year (it's likely common; I wouldn't know since it was my first spring here) and I started getting a little down. Because of it I've been extra careful not to complain about the muggy and hot weather when we have it because I figure before I know it I'll be pining for it.



  4. Reese ~ yes, that English wet weather is a good example! I actually know of someone whose doctor recommended a 15 minute trip to the tanning booth once a week.....not enough to get tan or the harmful exposure effects, but the light, although artificial, was still enough to keep her depression away.

  5. Betsy, That must explain why I loved the tanning salon so much about 10 years ago when Tim and I were separated. Besides the fact that my life was in shambles, we also lived in Portland, Oregon which is also known for its dreariness. I'm a very fair skinned girl, but I started craving going to tan, especially when I got seriously stressed.

    Hm... something to think about for this fall when Tim is away for several months. Thanks for the tip!


  6. Wow, that is interesting! You thought you were craving a tan, but your body was really craving some serotonin!

  7. A great deal of people suffer from S.A.D. and do not even realize it...I for one love LOTS and LOTS of light!

    An occasional rainy day is a good excuse for an extra cup of coffee and a long sit on the porch swing!

  8. I've lived in the South all of my life, until the last three years that is, when my husband took a job transfer to the "frozen North"...LOL! Well, I do suffer from SAD come to find out. I don't mind snow, it is just the fact that winter seems to last forever here. I crave the warmer months so bad!

    It's raining here today but I'm not sad, just relieved that I don't have to water the flowers and veggies today ;)

  9. Wow I didn't know that!! I am going to have to lay out in the sun for 15 min. every day!!
    I used to get the winter blues really bad when I lived a little further north in Athens, GA, because in winter there it is usually pretty gloomy. But since moving here, Savannah stays very sunny and most always warm, except for those couple of months. So when it's grey here, I like it. It's a great time for hot tea, a book, and a good nap.

  10. Jill ~ yes a lot of people do on all sorts of levels and don't realize it. The husband can feel it by the end of the winter...and he loves summer! I think it's interesting that S.A.D. spells sad...so appropriate! Yes, a rainy day is perfect for coffee and the swing...I'm right there with you!

  11. Tammy ~ yes, I bet if a study was done between the north and the south, we northerners would suffer from SAD more than the warm weather states!

  12. Willow ~ well, grab a cup of coffee and join Jill and me on the porch swing....we like a gray day, too!

  13. Betsy...I enjoy the rain and we've been getting quite a lot lately. I do notice however, my spirits of a bit lifted on a bright sunny day. We've got thunder storms headed this way this afternoon...matter of fact I just did a short little blog about it :) have a happy day no matter what!

  14. Deedee ~ there's nothing like a good rain, especially if your plants and yard are thirsty!

  15. My daughter in law said she has felt a lot more energy since living in Colorado, which gets over 300 sunny days a year. Doctors now recommend taking vitamin D supplements as that vitamin is depleted by not getting enough sun, and it is necessary for calcium absorption for strong bones.

  16. Pat ~ yes! That's what this doctor of ours was saying! People are so concerned with skin cancer that they are preventing a little sun from doing it's good...producing Vitamin D for one thing! It is so interesting!

  17. In the winter time, I can always tell how a sunny day lifts my mood. In fact, when looking back through my little desk-calendar-journal I noted numerous times last winter and spring how my mood changed with especially sunny or dark days. I feel good all over on sunny days.

  18. Steviewren~ that's interesting that you can look back in your calendar and see the affect the sun or lack of sun has on your mood! It really does make a difference to a lot of people!
    Hope your week is a sunny one!

  19. More and more beneficial aspects of getting enough sun are always being discovered. The role of vitamin D in disease prevention is being studied and its amazing how important sunshine is to many different aspects of overall health.

    When there are too many rainy or cloudy days in a row, I definitely feel something is amiss...

  20. lavinia ~ yes, and it's amazing that the signs of under-exposure are now showing up because we're afraid of skin cancer and wrinkles!
    It's amazing how just a little sun is good for you and actually necessary!

  21. I'm one who loves a good rainy day. Unless it's springtime....too scared of tornadoes!

  22. While I know that we need rain and gentle showers on a Sunday afternoon are a beautiful thing, I love the sun. I need the sun. It is almost embarrassing but sometimes at church I am overcome with emotion when I hear Canticle of the Sun. The best is the rainbow that comes after the storm when the sun comes out.

  23. Jojo ~ oh yes, a rainbow after a storm is the neatest thing...and so seldom seen!..at least around here!


I'm serving coffee! Stay and chat!
And no awards, please! Your comments are my awards!