Benefit from some 'Green Therapy' this Summer Solstice

It’s officially Summer Solstice - the longest day of the year.

How is this the longest day of the year? One of Earth’s poles (the Northern Hemisphere) has tilted its maximum toward the sun, meaning we get the longest period of daylight. During the summer months, we experience longer days and sunlight, and this can be very beneficial for people’s mental and physical health.

There’s something magical about summer that makes us feel happy, relaxed, and more often than not, ready to enjoy a holiday.

Increased exposure to sunlight can have lots of benefits toward people’s mental and physical health and here’s why…

We’ve previously discussed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how decreased levels of sunlight can negatively impact your mental health due to drops in serotonin, and your body’s circadian rhythm being altered. In the summer months, it’s the opposite of this as the days are longer and brighter, meaning increased exposure to sunlight and our bodies can produce more serotonin (a happy hormone).

Green Therapy

Having better weather and more daylight means that people are more likely to engage in outdoor activities or spend more time outside in general. This can be known as ‘green therapy’ because it has been proven that more time outside and in nature boosts our moods. Simply being outdoors is a free and very effective way to improve our mental health because nature boosts “serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, contributing to happiness and well-being” . Outside spaces increase exercise and movement as more people are inclined to go for a walk, a run, or play outdoor activities like tennis and football. All of these things are great outlets for people to relax as it can reduce stress, anxiety, anger and more. Not to mention it improves the quality of our sleep, which again helps with mental health.

Increased daylight also motivates people to exercise more. We all know that there’s nothing worse than waking up in the dark winter mornings to drag ourselves to the gym; that’s why the lighter mornings and nights mean that people feel more energised as they associated the light with being awake and less sleepy.