Happiness and Spring

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.” – Susan J. Bissonette

Spring fever. Winter blues. What is it about the seasons that affects our mood?  I’m not sure what other professions notice in people when winter starts to recede, but as a psychotherapist I see a distinct improvement in many people’s mood and energy at the first inkling of spring. The weather gets warmer and the sun makes more of an appearance. Leaves come out, grass gets green again, and flowers start to bloom. There’s a distinctly fresh smell in the air, more birds are singing, and people tend to spend more time outside. But why would this translate into feeling good? Does the warmth, the light, the smells, the nature sounds have some chemical effect on us? Maybe it’s biological – some scientists believe the energy increase is due to less melatonin production (the chemical our body makes to help us sleep – released in dark or dim light) when the days are longer. It could be psychological – when there are more daylight hours it seems that we have more time to be productive or enjoy the day. It could be physical – when it’s warm and sunny out people tend to get outside and play and exercise more, releasing more endorphins.

Whatever it is, spring seems to push us into feeling good. Take advantage of it – grab a quick walk during your lunch break, use all your senses to take in the spring, and enjoy the rest of your afternoon feeling a bit happier!