“If you want light to come into your life, you have to stand where it is shining.”
— GUY FINLEY
I don’t know about you, but I need a lot of sunshine in my life… especially in my home. It’s like clockwork; the first thing I do when I get out of bed is open all the curtains and blinds to let the sunlight in and shine into every corner of my home wherever possible. Most of us put little thought into how light impacts our mood, but if you end up grinning on a sunny day or feel more productive when sunlight is shining through your windows, there’s no denying that light affects your mood. Without realizing it, the different types of light we’re exposed to on a daily basis has a real impact on our psychological well being as well as overall health.
Although natural sunlight makes us more optimistic, bright indoor lighting can heighten emotions and cause either a positive or negative mood. This makes sense because bright daylight stimulates our mood and nighttime darkness induces relaxation and sleep. So there’s a fine balance between natural sunlight and bright indoor lighting.
So basically this means our emotional state is highly affected by sunlight and the lighting in our home. Very interesting! Hmm… is that why a lot of arguments start in the kitchen? Lol just kidding. Us humans… such a delicate process. We are such magnificent creatures, yet so high maintenance!
Natural Light In The Workplace
Researchers believe exposure to natural light helps our bodies adhere to the natural circadian rhythms. In fact, the moment sunlight hits us in the morning, circadian rhythms are immediately stimulated.
Circadian rhythms are mental, physical and biological changes that run on a 24-hour cycle and respond accordingly to light and darkness. These rhythms are produced naturally within the body through signals from our environment. The main signal that influences this cycle is our exposure to light.
Catching a few rays of natural light every day can make a world of difference for your health. A 2014 study published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that individuals who had exposure to natural light in their work environment experienced a better quality of life and overall sense of well-being. They were more alert, had better sleep quality and were more active compared to individuals whose work environment had no windows or sunlight. Interestingly, of course, this is not implying that everyone needs to go out and find a job outdoors now or start fighting for a cubical with a window! It’s not like we can snap our fingers and make windows appear wherever we would like. However, it is important for us to educate ourselves and bring awareness to whatever is a contributing factor to our overall health and well-being.
If you’re struggling to stay uplifted and productive at work and need a serious mood boost, here’s 3 things you can do that will help:
1) Make it a habit if at all possible to take a lunch break outside of your work environment so you can get some sun exposure and experience natural light outdoors. This can also help maintain your circadian rhythms as well.
2) A way to treat the effects of winter blues, jet lag, and SAD by mimicking natural sunlight is with light therapy. Easy to get, the device is called a Light Therapy Lamp. Used as you sit at your desk or work area, at home or take along when traveling as it’s portable. It emits bright, artificial light that triggers brain chemicals to lift your mood and perk up your productivity. It’s also affordable, convenient, and easy to use which is always a plus. Easy to find on Amazon, I picked out a few for you as a starting point below.
3) Supplement with pure Vitamin D3, also known as the “sunshine” vitamin. I cannot stress this enough. Of course, this is not groundbreaking news that vitamin D plays a crucial role in boosting your mood amongst other major health benefits. The key here is purity so please, always look for Non-GMO on the label. If you need a good starting point Dr. Mercola’s is a safe bet.
I’d say it’s worth a try if you can’t build a window in your cubical or workplace environment, right?
Blue Light For Productivity
So now we know that exposure to sunlight during the day makes us alert, affects our mood and helps regulate our circadian rhythms. A research study found that participants who were subjected to cool blue light were more productive; they were able to complete cognitive tasks faster and more precisely. Blue light improved their endurance not just during exposure, but for a half hour after exposure to the blue light ended.
Of course, this is not the ideal light to have around at bedtime. While blue-white tones of light can give us a much needed mental boost during the day, it can definitely make it harder for us to get to sleep during the night. That mental boost we get from blue light, suppresses our melatonin, in turn, keeps us awake.
Exposure to the short-wavelength blue light emitted by mobile devices and laptops before bedtime interrupts our bodies production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. This could make it difficult for us to drift off to sleep… and that’s not what we want! If you’ve ever struggled to fall asleep at night or had difficulty sleeping, you’ve probably noticed the adverse effects of that lack of sleep. Anything from impaired judgment, increased stress and anxiety to high blood pressure and daytime tiredness just to name a few.
So while blue light could offer a useful remedy during the day, you may want to step away from your mobile devices and shut down your computer a couple of hours before going to bed. I know it’s easier said than done, especially with the way we’ve become so accustomed to functioning with our modern technology for work and pleasure; but if you can just make one small change at a time, over time you will have accomplished something that’s every bit worth investing in. You. Better health and an overall sense of well-being.
Good Lighting Is Everything
Just as sunlight affects our mood, indoor lighting affects our mood and the ambiance throughout our home as well. When done right, it sets the perfect tone and enhances the appearance of our space. The focus on lighting has become one of the main ingredients when it comes to interior decorating and design.
Think of the breathtaking ambiance that a chandelier creates just by effortlessly hanging from the ceiling over furniture, be it any room; emitting a beautiful glow and setting the mood. Chandeliers make for a stunning visual effect whether you’re in need of a lot of light or just subtle mood lighting.
I often say to myself “If my boyfriend ever wants to put a ring on it, he can just buy me a beautiful chandelier instead.” I think it’s safe to say most of us daydream about something that we pray or wish to come true, right? Ok, I’ll share with you my little personal secret daydream… It’s about marriage and a gorgeous chandelier. Here’s how it goes: With a tingle in my heart and a warm sensation going through my stomach, he brings me back to the house. We walk in the door, I look up and there’s a gorgeous chandelier hanging above. As I stand in awe with the reflection of glistening crystals and beams of warm light reflecting off of my eyes… He then asks me to marry him. And looking up, I say YES! The End.
Talk about that lit from within look…Who needs a ring when a girl can have a stunning chandelier hanging above her head in her home!? When everyone comes over, all I have to say is “and this is the chandelier he proposed to me with!”
Who am I kidding, I still want a ring. Can I have both? Of course I can.
Let There Be Light
As great as natural light is for us, the reality is that we don’t always get to choose window placement in our home or work environment. Especially if we’re renting; And we all know how those lovely little apartment dwellings can have minimal windows. With that said, the next best option is to use proper indoor lighting with different wattage light bulbs and dimmers. You’re in full control over the intensity of brightness you need and the ambiance it gives off. If you’re renting and your landlord approves, by all means, get pendant lighting or a chandelier; as long as the ceiling outlets are already in place of course.
I always believe, where there’s a will there is ALWAYS a way. Be mindful in all areas of your life, especially when it comes to lighting and your environment. After all, your mood is at stake and nobody can alter it but you!
Do you notice a difference in your mood depending on the lighting situation? Please share anything else that comes to mind in the comments below. As always, I look forward to hearing from you…until next time—xo