Brain Bulletin 117 - The Magic of 10 at 10
I started a habit some years ago that has been "magic" for my brain.
Tecumseh once said, "When you arise in the morning give thanks for the light, and for your life."
This seems like good advice: a combination of light and gratitude.
And sometimes, getting natural light during the winter months can be a challenge.
A 2019 study1 found getting morning light exposure is an all-day gift to your brain.
You get better focus, more alertness, happier mood, and you even sleep better the next night.
Another study2 in the Journal of Sleep Health found office workers who got morning light exposure had reduced depression, and improved sleep quality.
It seems that morning light exposure gets our brains and bodies in sync. The result? More energy, and a clear mind.
So, what was the habit that I started some years ago?
A ten minute walk outdoors in nature at 10:00 a.m..
It's one of the best things I have ever done for my well-being.
Two years ago, I shared this privately with a Brain Bulletin subscriber, and I recently received a follow-up email. Here is a small part of the email:
"It's been wonderful. Like magic for me. I needed to get well, and stay well. The transformation over the last two years has been nothing short of a miracle. My therapist is thrilled. My neurologist admitted to being in tears on our last phone appointment ...... A radical shift happened. I know what it's like to be happy. The key has been to "cast the spell" every morning. I write a short list of 3 things I'm grateful for, and go for a walk outside. My life is radically different .... I don't know why it works, but it does ...."
So, why not give it a try this year? Does it have to be at 10:00 a.m.? No.
Life is messy. And, work gets in the way. Just do the best you can. Your brain will thank you!
1. Choi, K., Shin, C., Kim, T. et al. Awakening effects of blue-enriched morning light exposure on university students’ physiological and subjective responses. Sci Rep 9, 345 (2019).
2. Sleep Health, Volume 3, Issue 3, P. 204-215, June 1, 2017.
Here's a bit more on gratitude:
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