2003-10-31 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Adapting To Changes In Light
By Dr. Nancy Gahles
Health & Harmony

Health & Harmony


nancy gahlesnancy gahles

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Adapting To Changes In Light

As the amount of sunlight in our days lessens, we become cranky. It’s a fact that I’ve observed over the years. We get up in the dark; we go to work and sit under fluorescent lights (essentially in the dark); we come home in the dark. It’s cold; it’s windy; it’s uncomfortable. All of the same chores await us upon arriving at home at the end of our "compensable work day". We feel cranky. Irritable. A bit more so than when we arrived home in the days of summer when we sat outside; ate outside and caught the last glimmer of light around 9 p.m.

Sunlight is a powerful force in human nature and, of course, in nature itself. The obvious effects of growth, fertility and productivity are evident in plant life, however, the emotional and psychological effects are equally evident in humans.

Human beings need sunlight to stimulate their growth and productivity also. The spectrum of ultraviolet light has a host of health benefits including its antibacterial and antiviral activity. Notice how the viral activity increases in the winter months. Lack of light can have immune suppressing action. Some people are simply more susceptible to sickness during the winter months. Adapting to this issue can be as simple as supplementing your diet with immune stimulating foods and herbs. Choosing fruits and vegetables that are red, orange or yellow (the colors of sunlight); adding the herb Echinacea to your daily regimen; avoiding heavy foods laden with animal fats or saturated fatty acids are good strategies to begin with.

Psychologically, lack of light can make a person feel more depressed and unable to function in as joyous a manner as they do in the summer months. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome (SADS).

Adapting to this issue can be as simple as taking a walk outside during your lunch hour or any time of the day when there is sunlight. Do this for at least 20 minutes. The breathing and the body movement part of this activity greatly enhances the mood. Listening to music that you love is also a good strategy. Light boxes that you sit in front of are also valuable for this condition. Visit this website for information on these boxes. Drwhitaker.com.

Emotionally, lack of light can bring on feelings of sadness and loss. The seasonal holidays, while traditionally occasions of celebration, can signal feelings of loss of loved ones or remembered transgressions and personal, painful feelings. Adapting to this issue can be as simple as making a conscious choice to put yourself into the company of those people who favorably impress you. People that love and support you, unconditionally. Create your own holiday celebrations that reflect your passions for life and invite only those people who will support you and those who will contribute positively to a brighter future. Live in the moment. Let go of yesterday. Forgive and move on. Create your future by living your present moment with conscious awareness. Live each day as if you were building a temple. And, indeed, you are. The temple of your own physical body wherein resides your soul can be outfitted just as you desire. Let that be your temple of light radiating inside for your own warmth and comfort. Then shine your light for all to see!! Remember, this too shall pass. Seasons are cyclical. Spring follows winter as surely as day follows night. Positive thinking!

Live Well!

Laugh Often! Love Much!

May The Blessings Be!


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