Monday, February 16, 2009

Show Me The Sunshine

Anybody that knows me knows how much I love sunshine. At first I thought it was all in my head, “sunshine can cause happiness,” but it turns out this may be true! All I can say is “whoo hoo!!” What is even better is that individuals who are happy have a higher rate of success. Sign me up!
Sunshine makes people happy because of the production of vitamin D due to its exposure. When vitamin D is produced in the adrenal glands, it regulates an enzyme known as tyrosine hydroxylase which is vital to the production of dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine (which are also produced during physical activity… but who wants to do that when you can lie around in the sun?). With a lack of sunshine, an individual might develop chronic fatigue or depression, basically every student’s enemy.  Who can do homework when they are sad or tired?
So, how are we supposed to get this sunshine without developing skin cancer? The answer is simple: get about 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure per day. FYI: This means wearing no sunscreen with an SPF of 8 or over; but, once the 15 minutes is up, you should definitely slather up!   Also, most people don’t know that many factors contribute to lack of vitamin D production during the months of November through February.  Some cities, like Boston, don’t obtain enough sunshine for individuals that live there to produce enough vitamin D during these months.
To me, happiness is essential in my daily functioning. For those of you who think that you have more important things to worry about than your happiness level, I’ll give you a heads up as to why you should start worrying: happiness can lead to success. That’s right: people who are happy experience success in work, in relationships, and they even experience better health. I don’t know about you, but that’s enough to make me pack up and leave for California ASAP. And if you’re wondering why California, it's because it is one of the five states that experience the greatest amount of sunshine per year in the U.S.  Is anyone willing to pay for my plane ticket?


  1. I totally agree with you!!! Sunshine makes me very happy.
    I had been always thinking that Ohio's winter makes me really depressed somehow. (I have more sunshine in my hometown during winter) Now I know why!
    However, it seems like we have more sunshine this year compared to the last three years. I'm doing a lot better this semester.

  2. I agree with this blog 100%. In the fall and winter season when there is not too much sun, I sometimes feel bummed out. When spring and summer comes around with much more sun, my attitude changes to more positive. I feel that sun and vitamin D is the non harmful version of alcohol.

  3. Problem: skin cancer, Solution: put sunscreen on as soon as you get outside. I've read that it takes sunscreen about 15 minutes to absorb and get to work anyways, so if you put it on as soon as you get outside, then you should be able to get the recommended amount of vitamin D, but also stay protected from that harmful, cancer-causing, sun rays.

    On the Banana Boat website ( they say to apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes, or even an hour before going outside. I'm guessing that this implys that it takes the sunscreen this amount of time to be in full effect. So I guess that proves my previous theory of putting on sunscreen while you're outside to get some unprotected sun exposure!

  4. This is true for everyone. Who wouldn't be happier on a sunny day? Many people might not know that there is actually a scientific reason behind this, but I always hear people say "seasonal depression" during the winter months. So sunshine makes everyone feel better whether they know it or not.