Science behind spring happiness
Spring is here. The weather is getting better, the days lengthen, and flowers start blooming. The last few weeks I noticed that my mood improved, I get up easier in the morning and I am motivated. I am not only motivated to do fun activities but also for thing that I did not look forward to doing at first. I was curious and wondered if this had something to do with spring rolling around. So, I decided to dedicate this weeks’ blog to the science behind spring happiness.
The name of the season got its name from the verb “spring”. Flowers spring up, spring open and start blooming. Spring originates from the old English word “springan”, this means “to leap, burst forth, fly up; spread, grow”. The Dutch word for spring is “Lente”. This originates from the word “lang”, which means “long” in English. Since the sun sets later, we experience the day as longer. The first day of spring is called “vernal equinox”, which is Latin for “spring equal night”. On this day there are 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.
People often feel happier in spring. This spring happiness is not a coincidence. Research proved that our bodies' natural and biological reaction to getting more vitamin D, as well as the effects of getting to spend more time outside, causes an increase in happiness. Sunlight boosts the production of serotonin in our bodies’ while it reduces the production of melatonin. Increased levels of serotonin are linked to higher self-esteem and happiness. Melatonin is a hormone that determines when we get tired and so, when we go the sleep. Less melatonin leaves people with a more energized feeling.
When the weather gets better, we are more likely to go outside. When going out we often do things where we use energy for like going for a walk, playing a game in the park and so on. These kinds of activities cause a kick of endorphins. Endorphins are released by the hypothalamus and these opiate receptors to alleviate pain and promote feelings of pleasure.
The increase in energy due to reduced melatonin, longer daylight hours, and being outside can all lead to an increase in socialization. You are way more likely to go do something fun with your friends when the weather is good, and you have energy. Socializing increases happy hormones, like endorphins and oxytocin.
In short, spring creates a chain reaction of mood boosters. So, get ready for your yearly happiness boost!