World Mental Healthcare Association

Sunshine Boosts Mental Health More Than Any Other Weather Variable: Study

Sunshine Boosts Mental Health
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Health News: The time between sunrise and sunset matters most when it comes to mental and emotional health, according to a recent study by Brigham Young University (BYU).

Having enough exposure to sunlight can lower your emotional distress. Sunshine matters a lot to mental health and is applicable to the clinical population at large and not just people diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Mark Beecher, clinical professor and licensed psychologist in BYU published his study in the Journal of Affective Disorders. The study focused on clinical population analysed wind chill, rainfall, solar irradiance, wind speed, temperature and other meteorological variables. The research team analysed the weather data in the exact area where clients resided.
The team used mental health treatment outcome measure to examine several aspects of psychological distress and did not consider suicide attempts or online diaries.

Beecher said, “On a rainy day, or a more polluted day, people assume that they’d have more distress. But we didn’t see that. We looked at solar irradiance or the amount of sunlight that actually hits the ground. We tried to take into account cloudy days, rainy days, pollution . . . but they washed out. The one thing that was really significant was the amount of time between sunrise and sunset.” Beyond sun time, no other weather/pollution variables were related to distress.

The study findings have important implications for therapists, they need to develop preventive measures for emotional distress that is high in clients during winters with low sun exposure.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Beecher, M. E., Eggett, D., Erekson, D., Rees, L. B., Bingham, J., Klundt, J., Bailey, R. J., Ripplinger, C., Kirchhoefer, J., Gibson, R., Griner, D., Cox, J. C., & Boardman, R. (2016). Sunshine on my shoulders: Weather, pollution, and emotional distress. Journal of Affective Disorders, 205, 234-238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.07.021

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