St. Francis of Assisi (think of the new pope) wrote a wonderful poem called the “Hymn of the Sun.” A verse relating to the sun states, “Be thou praised, O Lord, for all Thy creation, more especially for our brother the sun, who bringeth forth the day and givest light thereby, for he is glorious and splendid in his radiance, and to Thee, most high, he bears similitude.”
The sun has played a major role in people’s attitudes and dispositions. This magnificent shining star called the sun has been used in many songs that seem to bring on happiness. For example, I’m sure you have heard the song “You Are My Sunshine.” It states definitively that sunshine makes us happy when skies are gray. It ends by saying, “Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
Another song that I heard my mother sing was “On the Sunny Side of the Street”: “Get your hat and get your coat. Leave your worries on the doorstep. Life can be so sweet, on the sunny side of the street.” Again, brother sun is a major factor in our happiness and chasing away the blues.
Right in the center of our brain is a small gland known as the pineal body. It produces a hormone called melatonin, which is a precursor of serotonin, which has a great effect on our dispositions. Melatonin, when produced in large quantities, causes us to become lethargic, tired, listless and depressed. It seems that when the body is exposed to sunshine, the production of melatonin is greatly decreased. That is why all of us should seek some sunshine daily.
In fact, patients who are homebound or even bedridden in hospitals should be exposed to sunshine. The sunlight that comes through the windows, however, has no effect on the pineal gland.
Persons who cannot avail themselves of the sun should be exposed to a light fixture known as a sun box. This wonderful invention produces the same rays as the sun and, thus, inhibits the production of melatonin.
Not only does the sun help in preventing depression but also walking along the beach smelling the salty air changes our outlook. Walking in the rain sometimes can make us feel good on a cloudy day. The cold snow blowing in our faces can rejuvenate us and make us feel that we are survivors. After a lightning storm, when the air is filled with charged particles, we tend to breathe better and feel good.
The full moon has often been thought to affect our disposition. I’m sure, when a person is acting “out of sorts,” you have heard the expression, “It must be a full moon.”
We cannot control the weather, but the weather, in many cases, controls our outlook on life. We are, however, able to take advantage of natural resources that can affect our emotions. So let’s start walking or running on the sunny side of the street!