Spring is my favorite season. After spending most of the past few months indoors it is nice to be able to shed my winter clothes and enjoy Texas weather at its best. Granted we don’t get very cold winters in Houston, but it is still refreshing to have more sunshine in the days and to get outside more.
There is that beast known as Daylight Savings Time, but for some reason losing that hour doesn’t seem to affect me negatively. The time change does cause a sleep-pattern shift, but once our bodies adjust to the time change, the extra light can do wonders for our health.
Unlike the other seasons, spring comes with some interesting phenomena.
The term spring fever refers to both psychological and physiological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring. Spring fever, which while not an actual illness, can have some negative impact if we let it. Spring fever is that feeling that overtakes many people after a long, cold winter and plagues us with daydreaming, lack of interest in work or school, and a strong desire to be outside. Curing spring fever is as easy getting outside and enjoying outdoor sports or a barbecue or picnic with friends and family. Research shows that spending more time outside can seriously improve your health, from lowering your blood pressure to fighting off depression and beating back stress.
Human beings are programmed to rest when it’s dark and to be active and in high spirits when it’s light. The sun’s rays change our hormonal balance, especially those that have a particularly strong influence on our moods, the sleep hormone melatonin and the happiness hormone serotonin. An added bonus is that most of us tend to eat less and exercise more because we have more options of things to do.
When sunlight hits the optic nerve, some of that light is sent to the gland in the brain in charge of melatonin. In response, melatonin decreases. While the physiological function of the pineal gland has been unknown until recent times, mystical traditions and esoteric schools have long known this area in the middle of the brain to be the connecting link between the physical and spiritual worlds.
My favorite spring phenomena is spring cleaning. Clutter is mentally exhausting and can take a real psychological toll. Our life only has time, space, and energy for a certain quantity of things. Clutter takes up that time, space, and energy, and crowds out the good stuff.
So with all of this in mind I gladly say see ya winter and hello springtime.