sun improves emotional distress, depression, anxiety

No song can change your mood from down to happy faster than that George Harrison Beatles’ song. And it turns out that the only weather condition that can change your mood from down to happy is the sun.



It may feel like rainy days get you down, but it’s not the rain: it’s the lack of sun.

This study looked at data from 16,452 adults and analyzed emotional distress is related to 19 different weather and atmospheric phenomena.

Neither rain nor temperature were associated with psychological distress. In fact, no weather pattern seemed to be associated with psychological mood. Except sunlight. Seasonal changes in amount of sunny time was associated with mental health distress: periods of reduced sunlight hours were associated with metal health distress. Though lack of sunlight had a trend toward increased suicidality, the association fell short of being significant.

Psychological distress includes symptoms like depression, anxiety, loneliness and difficulties in social roles.

This study is interesting in light of all the research on light and depression. Though it is not surprising that light therapy should help seasonal affective disorder, it is more surprising that recent research has found light therapy to be better than Prozac in people with nonseasonal depression.


Journal of Affective Disorders 2016;205:234-8


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The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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