Free to Be Happy and Healthy

Summer is traditionally a time to celebrate freedom. People all throughout the Northern Hemisphere feel a spirit of freedom in the air throughout the summer months. The combination of warmer temperatures, extra hours of daylight, lighter work schedules and a recess for most schools gives us freedom to explore new places and new possibilities for personal growth. And it’s not surprising if you feel healthier and happier in this season of freedom—most people do.

What you may not realize is that there are real and tangible psychological and physiological factors which feed the summer boost to our mood. Extra summer daylight and the brighter quality of that summer light both have a direct effect on the production of hormones that regulate our moods and our waking and sleeping cycles. This hormonal effect may be part of the reason people report fewer episodes of depression during the summer months. The free time that comes with extra daylight hours and lighter summer schedules also gives us an opportunity to relax and have some “me time” to try and recover from the chronic Cultural Stress® that can burden us and erode our health and sense of well-being.

I strongly encourage you to make the most of this opportunity to unwind by truly unplugging, at home and on vacation. I also encourage you to heal your spirit and body by behaving like a child during your free time by letting go of unreasonable expectations and negative thinking. And if you are planning to take a family vacation, please take to heart the following advice “be imperfect; live longer.” Don’t fall into the trap of pressuring yourself to deliver an ultimate vacation experience for the whole family. Try not to over-plan and try to let everyone have an age-appropriate amount of input—it will be less stressful for all concerned if the agenda represents a family collaboration instead of a parental imposition. I hope you have a wonderful summer with many memorable moments and that the health and happiness you rediscover this summer will stay with you throughout the year.

 

Doctor Murad Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

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