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Let there be (natural) light for good health

Wellbeing

Let there be (natural) light for good health

TRISTAN Hall reminds us that sunlight and social connections may have more benefits than we realise.

The Pillar of Health is often one that can be overlooked, particularly as we can be led to believe we have little control over our surroundings and are unable to really make an impact.

But have you ever considered that while our bodies are a result and response to our environment, we can use this to our advantage?

If the plant in the corner of your room starts to die and the leaves shrivel, more water or fertiliser aren’t going to bring it back to life.

In the same way, when we are indoors at home or in the office for long periods of time, several days a week, we, too, are missing a key element of growth.

Our body relies on the full spectrum light and the natural rhythms of exposure throughout the day to regulate our concentration, stress responses, mood, blood pressure, body temperature and even our immune and digestive systems.

Full spectrum light (from the sun) is different to the lights we use indoors and on screens, and it has a greater effect on our body than  we realise. In a simplified primal sense, our brain is wired to know that ‘blue light = blue sky’, signifying it’s daytime and we should be alert and active. Cortisol is heightened to fuel the alertness and action.

Artificial light sources are predominantly blue light emitting (unless the bulbs have a very warm glow). I’m sure you can piece together how the response to these lights may be unhelpful over long hours or in the evening as we wind down. The greater our cortisol levels are stimulated, the less our body receives signals for recovery – impacting sleep or digestion.

While modern lifestyles demand our time indoors, getting intermittent natural light throughout the day helps with regulation of energy, immunity, moods and concentration.

Our social environment and connection also play a vital role with health. We are social beings that desire connection – where depth is more valuable than breadth. Creating meaningful and deepened relationships with family and friends provides many benefits. Particularly with an influx of ‘feel-good’ hormones and a sense of safety/acceptance with others, our body is better able to combat stress and promote recovery and regulation.

Bringing intentionality to our physical and social environment can be a key factor in helping  our health thrive. How can you  set your environment to help combat stress and better regulate your energy?

 Tristan Hall is an exercise physiologist at Full Circle Wellness. Call 0431 192 284 or visit fullcirclewellness.com.au

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