Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fight The Blues With Sunlight

According to the CDC, 1 in 10 Americans report that they are currently suffering from some form of depression.  Further, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that a staggering 18% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of anxiety disorder.  Meanwhile, Americans are spending tens of billions of dollars each year on prescription anti-depressant medication.  These drugs often times cause dependencies and carry other risky side effects.

There are many alternative, natural, and safe remedies for depression that you may not get from your doctor.  In this first article in a series on depression, we will take a look at the cheapest and easiest anti-depressant you can get - natural sunlight.

After decades of of hearing how bad the sun is for us, people are now suffering from the effects of a lack of sun exposure.  According to this article on HowStuffWorks,
A chronic lack of sun exposure has been linked to fertility problems, several forms of cancer, general poor health and varying degrees of depression. People actually get depressed, with symptoms like sadness, fatigue and hopelessness -- from a lack of sunlight.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is generally a depression that many people experience each year during the onset of fall and winter, when the days become shorter and their is less sunlight.  Many people working 'normal hours' will leave for their job before the sun comes up and get home after it sets.  This lack of sunlight contributes to depression.  However now days, even in the summer when people simply stay indoors all day, this depression can last year round.  Fortunately though, the remedy is simple.

Go outside!  Really, that's all you have to do.  And the amount of sunlight you need is probably less than you think.  Studies have shown that to get the proper amount of Vitamin D from the sunlight to promote wellbeing, you really only need about 10 minutes of sunlight per day during peak hours.  That's all.  If you work all day, just take a walk during your lunch break.  If you are at home, do some gardening.  In the winter, shovel some snow.  Yes it will work better in short sleeves and shorts, but something is better than nothing.

Note, that you should be getting this direct sunlight without the use of sunscreens.  Also keep in mind that many commercial sunscreens actually increase the risk of skin cancer.  If you absolutely think you need sun protection when you go outside, take a look at our article on Natural Sunscreen.

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