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Learning to Thrive
With Robin Perry Braun

DAY 3: 7-DAY EMOTIONAL WELLNESS CHALLENGE

7 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR MOOD!

As you know by now if you have been following my posts, October is Emotional Wellness Month. We are on Day 3 of 7 and we’ve been discussing  7 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR MOOD! If you like to review you can read Day 1 and Day 2 blogs by clicking on the link.

Before I get into my third tip, don’t forget about the giveaway I am offering to twenty individuals who follow and participate in my 7-Day Emotional Wellness Challenge from Sunday, October 11, 2020 through Saturday, October 17.  

In conjunction with this #7DayChallenge, I am giving away 20 free kindle copies of my book, Thrive. To be eligible, you must follow along on each of my daily blog posts and participate in the 7-Day Emotional Wellness Challenge from Monday, October 11 – Sunday, October 17, 2020. To prove your participation, leave a comment on each daily blog about your experience and any results you may have noticed when implementing the tips offered on that day. The 20 participants will be notified on Monday, October 18.

Now let’s get to the Day 3 tip!

Disclaimer: The following statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product recommendations in this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. If you have any medical condition or taking any medications please discuss with your healthcare provider prior to implementing any recommendations.

SPEND TIME SUNGAZING & SOAK IN THE SUNSHINE

We often hear about how too much of time in the sun can be harmful to your skin, and obviously too much of anything isn’t good for us even the sun. However, if done in moderation and at certain times of the day. The sun is in fact healthy for us. With the  right balance of time in the sun it actually is beneficial in lifting your  mood.

Did you know that sunlight and darkness actually trigger the release of hormones in your brain. So that means when we are exposed to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a of the “feel good” hormone called serotonin. In the evenings, when it darker it triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin – the “sleep” hormone.

When God created light, He said it was good. In His infinite wisdom and divine purpose, God created the sun to have life-giving benefits of light to sustain us in so many ways.  I am always in awe of  how He intricately threaded everything together for His purposes and plans and learning more about the multifaceted benefits of everything He created, like the sun.

“And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it; and God separated the light [distinguishing it] from the darkness. 5 And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” – Genesis 1:3-5 (Amplified)

Sunrise on the lake

Watching the sunrise and the sunset has been known to be a relaxing, romantic, and even reverent activity that many people, couples and churches have partaken in its spectacular display. So Sungazing doesn’t seem to be a stretch to incorporate into your daily life activities. While at first glance, sungazing may seem a little hokey, there are in fact a lot of health benefits connected to the sun. A mood boost isn’t the only reason to get more  quality time in the sun. There are several health benefits associated with catching moderate amounts of rays.

Sungazing is an ancient practice where individuals would gaze at the sun gradually to introduce sunlight into their eyes at the lowest ultraviolet-index times of day – sunrise and sunset. For about 45 minutes after each daily event, the UV rays are at 0 and if done correctly, it allows our eyes the opportunity gaze into the sun. Many people practice sungazing by looking at the sun for 5-10 minutes at a time and some also build up gradually to take advantage the full 45 minutes.

Some doctors and eye care professionals caution against looking directly at the sun, saying that it can damage the retina. However, if done correctly, sun-gazing at the specified times of day, those that reported who have had their eyes checked have been told their eyes had no damage. It is also recommended that you have your eyes checked in the first few weeks of sungazing, so you can know for yourself if you are doing it correctly.

Beautiful couple watching sunset

7 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Sungazing

    1. Watch the sunrise or the sunset within the first hour
    2. Get yourself grounded while your at it by standing barefoot in the grass. 
    3. If you wear glasses or contacts its best to remove them before and it is not recommended to look at the sun through windows either.
    4. Start by sungazing for 10 seconds or for as long as you are comfortable, if you wish gradually build up to 30 minutes a day. Some break it up and do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evenings
    5. If the sun seems too bright to you, squinting is perfectly ok. You can look around the sun or raise your hands and make a scope with your hand by making a circle to peer through. This may be helpful to better stare at or around the sun, through the gap between your hands.
    6. When it is cloudy or rainy outside, look towards where the sun is positioned behind the clouds.
    7. Fix your thoughts, thank the Lord for His Goodness and meditate on scriptures that build up and edify your spirit.
Female farmer looking at the sun on the horizon

Why Sungazing and Soaking in the Sunshine Boosts Your Mood

Medical pills, inscription vitamin D and shape of sun at beach

It’s a Great Source for Vitamin D 

When natural sunlight is exposed to the skin it turns on the body’s ability to produce vitamin D. Known as “the sunshine vitamin,” it is a crucial mechanism for overall health. The sun triggers our body to produce Vitamin D, natures way of releasing this essential vitamin that we cannot live without.  

There’s nothing like the sun and all of its splendor.  It protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps muscles, improves brain function and may even protect against cancer. 

It is estimated that over 40% of the US population is vitamin D deficient. Some demographics have even higher levels of deficiency, including premenopausal women, those with poor nutrition habits, people over age 65, Caucasians who avoid any sun exposure, and those who take certain prescription medications long term. Lower levels of vitamin D has been known to cause heart disease, prostate cancer and dementia. 

So what does D do for your mood? The lack of sun exposure has been linked to depression, seasonal affective disorder and sleep quality. According to Forbes, “in 2012, 60 million Americans filled prescriptions for sleeping pills, up from 46 million in 2006 (as reported in The New York Times).”

So getting sunshine is important. Our bodies were created to be in the sun, and soaking in the sunlight during the day is crucial to our overall wellbeing. At a minimum, it is recommended to get at least 10-15 minutes of sunlight every day.

In addition to soaking in the sun, I highly recommend taking doses of D3 (and K2) year round

 

Young woman suffering from insomnia, husband sleeping aside

Boost Production of Melatonin & Serotonin

Research shows sungazing stimulates the pineal gland as the direct sunlight hits the eye, moves through retinal-hypothalamic tract, and then hits the brain. This stimulates the pineal gland, also known as the “master gland”. This boosts the secretion of melatonin, the “sleep” hormone and serotonin, our “feel-good” hormone. 

Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping give more energy, calm feeling and focused. Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can tank. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD). This is a form of depression triggered by the changing seasons when it gets darker sooner and the daylight is shorter. 

When exposed to sunlight it blocks our body’s ability to produce of melatonin, the hormone that puts us to sleep until the sun sets. This is what sets the body’s normal circadian rhythm, our body’s internal clock. It’s your body’s way of telling it self that without sunlight, it’s closing time. If we don’t sleep well it can reek havoc on how we concentrate to our mood and interaction with others. Research  also suggests that sunrise light exposure is linked to better sleep and health. Getting less morning light appears to make it more challenging for you to fall asleep and wake when you need to.

Sunlight therapies have been linked to increased levels of  our body’s  natural antidepressant in the brain. The brain actually produces more serotonin on sunny days than darker days. In turn those experiencing depression symptoms may feel better if they spend time in the sun.

Having “sunny disposition” is more than just an expression: Researchers have found more mental health distress in people during seasons with little sun exposure. Versus, sun exposure on days with plenty of sunshine were associated with better mental health. The study showed that access to sunshine has more effect on mood than rainfall, temperature, or any other environmental factor.

Closeup portrait of active healthy beautiful woman

Increased Energy Levels

Modern day sungazers say the practice has boosted their vitality. This is probably related to the secretion of the previously mentioned hormones. There is a direct correlation with lack of energy as a symptom of depression. It could be concluded then based on that reality, that sunshine would then offer us more energy.

Lack of energy and fatigue remains one of the main symptoms of vitamin D deficiency which begs the question; does vitamin D and the sun play a factor in boosting your energy levels?

A recent study by Newcastle University found a connection between vitamin D and energy levels. The study specifically compared muscle function and recovery in 27 participants, 12 of whom suffered from vitamin D deficiency while the 15 that did not, were part of the control group.

The scientists measured the participant’s responses while exercising utilizing non-invasive resonance scans. The scans showed how the mitochondria was working and found that those with low vitamin D levels had less efficient mitochondrial function, which only improved after supplementing with vitamin D.

This is significant because mitochondria are the tiny, rod-shaped tiny cellular structures that act as the power generators of your cells. These cells then help to manufacture ATP, an energy rich molecule, from glucose and oxygen. ATP then acts as the main energy source that fuels the  metabolic functions. While, poor mitochondrial efficiency is often linked to fatigue-related disorders. This study definitely appears to imply that the sunshine producer of vitamin D is essential for healthy mitochondrial functioning, in turn impacting energy levels.

Xray closeup

Increased the Physical Size of the Pineal Gland

Rays of sun have been shown to increase the actual size of the pineal gland. Normally, during the aging process, the pineal gland shrinks. However, brain scans from long-term practitioner of sungazing show that this 70 year-old man has a gland three times as big as a normal man.

A team of physicians from the University of Pennsylvania examined this man 24/7 for 130 days. Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg and pineal gland authority George Bernard studied the brain during this 130-day period. They found that the gray cells in this man’s brain were completely regenerating.

It is known that the pineal gland shrinks in individuals after their mid-fifties. This man’s pineal gland not shrinking but instead was expanding! (His pineal measured at 8 x 11 mm compared to the maximum average size of 6 x 6 mm.)

The research supports the idea that sunlight can totally help us restore the original size and function of this vital gland.

 

Cheerful Black Lady After Weight-Loss Measuring Waist With Tape Indoors

Promotes Weight Loss

Don’t we all feel good about life and the world around us when we are able to shed that weight that we’ve been work at finally losing? 

One of the historical beliefs in relation to sungazing was that the body and mind could be nourished by the sun, reducing the need for food. Similarly, some modern day sungazers say they have lost excess weight, and some even report even a total loss of appetite or the desire and need to eat. 

One study revealed that going outside for at least 30 minutes between 8 a.m. and noon was linked to weight loss and had lower body mass index. One factor found in a recent study concluded that because people sleep better if they get light in the morning had an easier time managing their weight. They found that there is a connection with getting morning sun and and managing weight wasn’t just because they got better sleep. There could could be other factors to this, but it seems there’s a connection between sunlight in the early morning and weight loss. 

In another study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than those taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.

Then in another study, overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk markers.

According to Livestrong.com, lack of sunlight can result in depression which can affect your appetite. They also correlate how hunger is controlled by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus (which works with serotonin and signals the feeling that you are satiated ). Additionally, Lack of sunlight causes a drop in serotonin levels, which can result in the feeling of fullness not being achieved. Therefore, exposure to sunlight will help you control your appetite. 

Even better, sunlight also increases your activity level. As the weather gets nicer, if you are in Texas like me, there are more outdoor activities to participate in and you don’t even have to break a sweat.

Relaxing on green grass

Gets You Grounded

Finally, when you go outside you are more likely to touch the earth or “ground.” Grounding recharges your magnetic field and plugs in all your body’s frequencies or organs. This energizes your body and reconnects you to nature, which will always boost your mood. So getting sunshine, gazing while grounding is a three for one! For those of you stuck in colder climates or cities, you can still ground on concrete, wearing cotton or wool (natural fibers) there are also a number of grounding devices that let you ground indoors, as well as lights that mimic the rays of the sun.

Grounding appears to also improve sleep, help manage pain, and normalizes cortisol one of the “stress” hormones which reduces our stress response.

The nervous system is an electrical system of the body, head to toe. Grounding has been shown to calm the nervous system by shifting the autonomic nervous system from the sympathetic, “fight-or-flight” branch toward the parasympathetic “rest-and-digest” branch.

Restful sleep and stress reduction is key to managing pain, and also significantly decreasing the risks of other chronic health conditions. In a blind pilot study of 60 subjects suffering from sleep disturbances and chronic muscle and joint pain for at least six months, grounding each night for one month produced a 74 to 100 percent improvement in quality of sleep, feeling rested upon waking, muscle stiffness and pain, chronic back and joint pain, and general well-being. Because grounding helps to establish a normal cortisol level at night, it then improves sleep, impacts pain, and reduces stress levels.

How much time do you spend in the sun on a regular basis? Can you tell the difference in your mood and stress levels when you do not spend time in the sun? 

Disclaimer: The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product recommendations in this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. If you have any medical condition or taking any medications please discuss with your healthcare provider prior to implementing any recommendations.

Author Profile for
Robin Perry Braun, MPsy

Robin Perry Braun, MPsy, is one of the leading pioneers of integrated wellness in the Christian community, teaching individuals how to become the healthiest versions of themselves possible.

She is an ordained minister and certified Integrated Life Process Practitioner. She has developed her own certified modality and is training others globally to practice this model. Over the last 25 years Robin has been educating herself in techniques that work to bring healing to body, soul and spirit She is passionate about educating people in holistic wellness by teaching how to understand ourselves from a quantum energy perspective and learning how to live a life that’s thriving not just surviving. Which is our God-given destiny.

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5 Responses

  1. I recently heard of grounding in a documentary. I was curious because the idea of rebalancing seemed appealing to me (so told the kids, get outside and get grounded!) No wonder when I work in my small garden growing vegetables I always feel good, like being in contact with the soil makes me very happy! Then the concept of grounding came along and it made so much sense. For out of the ground man was made! How sensible to reconnect with the ground! Vitamin D is also relevant. The climate where I leave and the location where I am does not make it possible to see sunsets and sunrises much less being exposed to sun rays! Too cold in winter and boiling hot in summer. So I think supplementation will do when the weather is not so ideal. I like the idea of growing my pineal gland too.

  2. I live in Canada eh and can only get out in the summer in late spring, summer and fall for sitting in the sun and I have recently started grounding by sitting in a chair with bare feet on the grass. I do find it relaxing and energizing. And I am taking Vit D drops along with K2. Also planning on getting a happy light for the winter..

    I was interesting about sunhine and prostate cancer especially for us guys. Thanks Robin for the great info!

  3. What a fantastic blog! I learned so much from this. Thank you!!! I love to be outside and especially during the Covid season have made it a point to get out in the sun daily to boost my vitamin D, but I have never heard of “sungazing.” Fascinating. Starting that today 🙂

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