Bright Lights

Our ancestors spent a large part of their lives outdoors. It was the practical thing to do. The need to forage for their daily meal, cultivating, harvesting and managing their crop to tending to their goats and sheep, being outdoors was an integral part of their lives. I suppose there wasn’t much to do inside anyway. Books, television and the iPad or iPhone were still far in the distant horizon. One of the many benefits of this was serotonin. Much has been said about this chemical. It affects how you feel, and imbalance can lead to depression and even suicide. Several studies have linked serotonin to your mood. Lower leads to a bad mood and higher results in a good one. Lower levels can have a cascading impact from your being sociable, having friends, relationships and the ability to work and live a normal life. It is no exaggeration that this is one important chemical.

In the postmodern world, we are giving to popping pills for everything. But a pill for happiness and well-being? When good old-fashioned sunshine will do just fine, thank you very much? Researchers Perreau-Linck were able to show that even self-induced efforts at changing the levels of Serotonin influenced its levels. Their research indicated that the degree of serotonin both affected mood as well as was influenced by mood. Having a sunny disposition, in layman terms helps.

I am sorry your ancestors sold their farms and moved to the city. They sacrificed the joy of being out in the sun. Exposure to bright light has been a well-documented treatment for certain types of depression. Even a cloudy day has sufficient light of up to 1000 lux ( the measure of light). Light seems to elevate your mood. Exposure to light is beneficial as much to healthy individuals as it does to those predisposed to depression. I increasingly realise that sunshine may just be the elixir of life.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.