Natural light is a photographer’s best friend and a home buyer’s dream, but it offers so much more than that. Regardless of our modern innovations, humans are still biologically programmed to benefit from exposure to daylight. Unfortunately, most of us will spend close to 90% of our lives indoors in artificial lighting conditions.
However, “natural light is like a magic medicine — it improves mood, mental performance, and the ability to get along with people (The Washington Post).” At Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries, our approach to counseling is designed to equip individuals with personalized strategies to effectively manage life’s challenges, as well as share healthy ways to promote mental wellness.
Below, we highlight how natural light can positively benefit your mind, body, and spirit.
Natural Light Improves Mood & Sleep
A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders analyzed data from 500,000 individuals who reported they spent about 2.5 hours outdoors each day, and found that each additional hour spent in natural light was linked to a corresponding decrease in the risk of developing long-term depression and self-reported improvements to mood. What’s even more interesting is that these results proved to be independent of other variables such as lifestyle and social or economic status - meaning the common denominator was exposure to natural light!
Another significant factor directly related to natural light and productivity is our sleep quality – if we sleep better, we work better.
How? Light plays a central role in regulating circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock that signals when to be alert and when to rest. When exposed to natural light, a person’s circadian rhythm becomes closely synchronized with sunrise and sunset, leading to more natural, restful sleep.
Natural Light Boosts Vitamin D
When exposed to sunlight, the skin absorbs vitamin D, a vital nutrient that prevents bone loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, weight gain, and various cancers. In addition, “research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and decreasing the risk of depression (healthline).”
Natural Light Highlights the Beauty of God’s Creations
The opportunities to deepen our faith can come to us anywhere — especially in nature, where the beauty of God’s creation is on full display. When we spend time outside, we reap the mental and physical benefits and connect with the world around us.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. (Genesis 1:3-5 ESV)
The beautiful thing about connecting faith to nature is that there are no rules. As long as you practice care for all creation, you can serve God wherever you are.
While natural light can positively impact your mental and physical health, Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries is here to support you on your journey. Through Temperament Therapy, we work with you to identify healthy strategies to meet your needs and manage your emotions. Contact us today to learn more.