What if you could harness sunlight as a mood enhancer?
By Lori Hammond
Coach and Professional Hypnotist. Giving you simple tools to stop overwhelm and harness joyful forward momentum.
It's been 9 weeks since I lost my apartment in a flood.
I've been trying to stop talking about it because I wonder if people are thinking...
"All right Lori! We know about it!"
The past 9 weeks have been a roller coaster ride and I've learned so many things about myself and resilience.
One of the most beautiful things I've learned is the art of accepting gifts from others. That's always been really really hard for me.
I lost all my furniture in the flood and my insurance covered none of it.
We now have a new, beautifully furnished apartment thanks to the generosity of dozens of beautiful people who supported my daughter and I in our time of need.
And I have to admit...
It would be an understatement to say I've been in a slump.
There have been days when I didn't want to get out of bed. I couldn't think of any reason to get out of bed.
I forgot what it felt like to love my life and feel the excitement of a new day.
Depression used to be my default setting before I discovered hypnosis. I still dip back in now and then but I don't stay stuck there like I used to.
It felt like nothing I did was helping. I used the tools I teach others for getting out of depression but the heaviness stayed.
Then I stumbled on an Instagram live. I almost never watch Instagram lives but I believe I was meant to hear this one.
It was my favorite neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman, explaining that sunlight triggers the production of feel good chemicals in the brain and body.
One of the key side effects of these happy chemicals (specifically dopamine) is that they help regulate hormone levels.
Huberman explained the massive benefits of viewing sunlight (not looking directly at the sun) when the sun is low in the sky in the morning and evening. Shortly after sunrise and before sunset.
This has a profoundly positive effect on sleep cycles AND depression.
A few weeks ago I read a book called, The Joy of Movement by Kelly McGonigal.
It's my kind of book because McGonigal shares tons of scientific data that show the overwhelmingly positive way exercise impacts our mood.
One study told how a walk in nature has the same positive benefits as the most powerful prescription anti-depressants on the market (without the side-effects).
Something shifted in me as I listened to Andrew Huberman's Instagram live.
I was absolutely desperate to get out of the funk which felt more like a pit of despair.
I decided then and there to walk around a small lake near my apartment every morning shortly after sunrise.
I choose to make this my highest priority. No matter what I had planned in the coming days and weeks, I would walk around that lake.
And guess what?
I've found my happy again.
I had many fleeting moments of happiness the past few weeks. Especially during my group calls and when I've interacted with my amazing Trancy Tuesdays and Inner Circle Mastermind groups.
But "down" was my default setting until recently.
Thank goodness something has shifted.
A few weeks ago it was nearly impossible to remember what it feels like to feel good about life.
Since I started walking in the morning 3 weeks ago my default setting has switched back to joy.
I feel like I would be doing an injustice if I didn't tell you about it.
If you're struggling with low mood or insomnia I believe this simple trick can change your life.
If you want to give it a try, here's what you need to know...
- You will release feel-good chemicals in the brain and body 2-50 times faster if you are outside WITHOUT sunglasses than inside looking through a window.
Never ever view sunlight if it's painful and don't look directly at the sun. Keep sunglasses on if a doctor or optometrist has advised it.
- You do not need to exercise vigorously. If you go on a leisurely walk in nature - even if it's a city sidewalk with trees here and there - you will dramatically boost your mood.
- Don't be a perfectionist. I've only walked in the evening a couple times and I've still experienced dramatic results.
- Do yourself a favor and search "The Huberman Podcast" on your favorite podcast player. Listen to episode 2 if you want to understand why this is so effective.
Especially if you struggle to sleep well at night.
Thank you for reading my cheat sheets every week.
I am truly grateful for you and I'm here if you need any extra support.
Have a beautiful week.
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