Recently, have you noticed how you're feeling a little keener to leave the house in the morning, passers-by are a tad friendlier- even exchanging eye contact, with a smile on the tube and you have this whole new found lease of life and energy?
Why is that everyone around you, including yourself, is feeling a little merrier, exuberant and cheerful? That spring in your step is not inadvertent- it's because spring has finally arrived in all of its glory! Instead of a forecast of bitter winds and frequent showers, the sun is finally beaming down on us with bank holiday weekends and temperatures of up to 26 degrees!
26 degrees in England is officially a heat wave, people are flocking to any green patches, beaches are swamped by sun worshipers and I've seen at least 5 men wearing vests - which actually should never be allowed, whatever the season.
Traditionally spring is a time where we feel most optimistic about our lives: it is the long awaited splash of colour and life after the winter freeze; the promise of summer. We're no longer weighed down by layers of clothing, coats and umbrellas or stuck inside night after night because the weather is too depressing to leave the cosy cocoon of our homes.
Commuting in this week's sunshine has been something to look forward to; to be enjoyed, rather than the usual head-down-in-a-book-get-it-over-with attitude, I have found myself eagerly planning my evenings and days out. Suddenly, there seems so many possibilities- travelling, holidays, evenings out and my clothing choices are all of a sudden a little riskier!
Spring is inextricably linked with a sunnier outlook, the UN General Assembly actually announced in 2013 that March 20th - the first day of spring - should become International Happiness Day!
So what is it about this season that makes us feel so joyous?
Well it's not just down to the latest Topshop spring collection- there is scientific reasoning behind our spike in happiness; it's simply the combination of sunshine and warmth! When it's dark outside, our deficient sunlight levels results in a deficit of Vitamin D. Without sufficient amounts of vitamin D our melatonin levels rise, making us feel lethargic and drowsy. This means that our bodies and minds have to work harder to stay alert during the long periods of darkness each day. Workdays then seem arduous, and going out with friends is the last thing we want to do. Winter for me equates to short miserable days, commuting to a fro in the dark, getting into my PJ'S at 6 pm and eating for comfort.
The arrival of spring brings more daylight and releases energy reserves that are no longer needed to fight off winter lethargy. Exposure to light also increases serotonin levels, a wonderful chemical in our brains which makes us feel happier and reignites memories of summer and holidays.
Warmer days also means that we are tempted outside and dust off our running shoes. Streets are lined with joggers, roads are blocked up by cyclists and the long anticipated cricket season has officially begun in our house. As a result of increased activity, our bodies release endorphins, hormones which enhance our mood. I'm not all that fond of exercise, but the last couple of days I have found myself suggesting all kinds of outdoor pursuits; going for walks, punting, I even considered entering the ballot for the London Marathon.
The spring months, with their extended daylight hours, also mean we tend to socialise more, and with socialising with friends and family brings laughter- which is a great way to release even more endorphins; and better yet, getting physical releases oxytocin, another mood-enhancing chemical.
Without wishing to dampen your sunnier mood, it was only last week that we had snow alerts in some parts of the country, reminding us of how tumultuous our ever changing British weather can be! So let's get out there, enjoy the sunshine... while it lasts, and get that spring in your step to give a boost to your wellbeing!
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