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10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Sunshine That Make You Love The Sun More

10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Sunshine That Make You Love The Sun More

Maybe you are worried that too much sunlight can cause cancer? It is just one of the multiple causes so there is no need to get hung up about it. We are bombarded by messages to use sunblock all the time, even in winter. But sunblock may contain potential carcinogens, so you begin to wonder who is telling the truth. The answer is that there are no black and white answers but in the midst of all the hype, there are surprising benefits from staying in the sun, provided you do not overdo it!

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, praised sunlight’s great benefits. It is no surprise that the word for light therapy is heliotherapy which comes from the Greek god Helios, god of the sun.

Here are 10 great health benefits which should make you treasure your time in the sun.

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1. Sunlight may actually help to prevent cancer

Drs. Frank and Cedric Garland discovered that the lack of sunlight might be one explanation for the high rate of colon cancer in the New York area, compared to that in New Mexico. Sunlight helps us to produce vitamin D which can help to prevent certain cancers.

2. Sunshine can prevent health problems

We should remember that we produce most of our own Vitamin D, at no extra cost. It is done by a complex process in which our skin reacts to sunlight. If you have enough Vitamin D, you can avoid all sorts of health problems.

Vitamin D deficiency can result in dementia, tooth decay, compromised immune system, and osteoporosis. As 77 percent of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, this is becoming an urgent health problem. The best way to stock up on this is to eat certain food rich in vitamin D (fish and fortified milk) and also to get at least one and a half hours of direct sunlight each week.

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3. Sunshine can help with depression

Another chemical (serotonin) which affects your mood is produced when sunlight reaches the retina. This process sends a signal through the optic nerve which helps to increase levels of serotonin and boosts your mood. It is well known that most anti-depressants (SSRIs) work on the principle of artificially making sure that serotonin levels are high, thus warding off depression. Now, isn’t a good dose of sunshine better than Prozac?

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” – Helen Keller

4. Sunshine can help to kill bacteria

To understand what happens here, we have to go way back to the work of Niels Finsen which won him a Nobel Prize in 1903.  He discovered that treatment of certain diseases (such as lupus) with light therapy was perfectly feasible. He showed that light rays, rather than heat, had a powerful antibacterial effect.

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5. Sunshine may help you live longer

The University of Graz in Austria followed several thousand heart patients for a number of years. They found that there was a correlation between earlier death and low levels of vitamin D. The study suggests that longevity may well be affected by maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D. The best and cheapest way is to get more sunshine.

6. It helps to curb your appetite

Keeping up your levels of Vitamin D, either through supplements or by getting more sunshine, can actually help you keep that appetite under control. These were the conclusions reached by the University of Aberdeen after they had studied 3,000 women for a two year period. Guess what?  Those who had more problems with obesity also had low levels of Vitamin D.

7. Sunshine helps you sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep seems unrelated because the sun has long gone down. But your normal sleep-wake cycle has to be maintained. Researchers now say that one essential element to favor the production of melatonin (sleep hormone produced at night) is to get sunshine at the same time every day.

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8. Sunshine and vitamin D may improve lung function

Most smokers compromise the health and function of their lungs, if the habit lasts for years. One study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Crucial Care Medicine found that once vitamin D levels were maintained, then the actual decline in lung health was arrested.

9. Sunshine can help with blood pressure

It is no surprise to learn that the Danes do not get much sunshine in the winter months. In fact, studies have shown that in the month of February, 80 percent of Danes have very low levels of vitamin D. Some studies show that women who are suffering from vitamin D deficiency are more likely to suffer from hypertension fifteen years later. This was one of the take home messages from a recent conference hosted by the European Society of Hypertension.

10. Do it yourself health benefits

Sunshine is still free and as we produce almost all of our own vitamin D, then the whole process becomes so easy. I cannot think of a better way of looking after our health. We just need to remember to take adequate protection and to do everything in moderation.

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”- Oscar Wilde

Featured photo credit: Couple in sunshine/Pavlina Jane via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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