Claim Your Time in the Sun

Integratedspirituality (2)By Beth Davis, D.Min.

Adam and Eve spent their days working in the garden. And, for the next several centuries, men hunted and women gathered—out of doors. If you are reading this, chances are that you are living in an industrialized nation where the majority of people work indoors. I would guess that you have a difficult time receiving the natural effects of sunshine. Pollution and cloudy winter weather also block rays of sun from providing adequate supplies of serotonin to the brain.

Serotonin is important because it transmits signals between all the brain neurons. Without an adequate amount of this necessary chemical, the brain slows down. The Bible calls this a downcast spirit. The medical profession refers to it as depression. Fortunately, bright light stimulates the brain to produce serotonin. Although a daily dose of vitamin D provides an essential chemical for skin health and for other purposes, it does not substitute for the need for sunlight. So, how do we intentionally find enough sun to ensure vitality and contentment? Surprisingly, as little as 30 minutes of direct sunlight triggers the brain to begin its production.

You do not need full exposure to the sun to receive its benefits. Actually, it is the pupil of the eye that requires about 30 minutes of exposure. However, if you sun-burn easily or are susceptible to skin cancer, make sure that you protect yourself with proper clothing and sun-block. The following tips are some ways to incorporate a healthy dose of sunshine into your daily lifestyle.

 * Walk outside in the morning, if possible. Morning sun is the most beneficial.

* Spend some time out of doors during lunch or afternoon break.

* Remove your sunglasses for at least 30 minutes each day so that the eye’s pupil will receive sun rays. (Avoid directly staring at the sun).

* Abandon the car for short errands, and choose to walk.

* Take the dog for a walk.

* Play out of doors: tennis, golf, basketball, bike riding. Especially on your Sabbath day, make sure that you incorporate some type of recreation.

* Enjoy some time in the garden…working and walking with your Creator.

* Purchase a light box. If you live in a northern climate where winters are dark with little sun, you may need additional light exposure. Light boxes are available for purchase online and will provide the necessary 10,000 lux, which is equivalent to the sun’s output. For individuals who suffer from seasonal-onset depression, this is especially important.

Next week marks the first day of spring. And, soon after that we will celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Take time to enjoy and appreciate the Sonshine!