“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” – Pearl S. Buck
To keep us mentally and physically healthy we need to engage in mentally stimulating activities – do things that make us think, question, learn, err, understand, feel, develop, and LAUGH. Such activities include physical exercise, getting enough (but not too much) sleep, eating healthy food, minimizing stress, and, probably most important of all, connecting and interacting with other people.
Living a socially active and rich life develops our brain and our personality, and is vital for our well-being. Learning to interact socially is especially important for people coping with mental illness who often live isolated and lonely lives. Talking to friends and engaging in activities together helps us share and overcome fears, learn more about ourselves, acquire new skills, get new perspectives, and realize that we are not (coping) alone. Friends motivate us and make us feel loved and needed. Friends also make us feel miserable, which teaches us to say no and draw lines.
Prinz William urges parents and families to talk about mental health with their children. As he celebrates Father’s Day, he urges especially fathers to be more open about their feelings and not to neglect the often sensitive topic of their children’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Unresolved mental and emotional issues can “alter the course of a child’s life forever”, and lead to problems such as addiction, violence, suicide, and homelessness.
I thawed today. Ahhhhhhhhh, it felt soooooooo gooooood, sitting in the sun and letting the rays penetrate the four layers I was still wearing from the night – a thick undershirt, a turtle-neck, a woolen tank-top with a hood, and a(nother) hoodie – to warm my stiff limbs! After some time in the warmth I took off the hoodie and the tank-top. And I raised the bottom part of my sweat pants for the sun to get to the skin of my legs and stimulate some vitamin-D production… brrrrr.
Things are slowly returning to normal after a week of freezing cold, crazy rainstorms, and meters of snow and hail in many parts of the country, leading to flooded and blocked roads, water leaks in buildings (including our sweet two-room, one-level home) and power failures, leaving thousands of families without heating, warm water and light – not to mention internet, radio, and TV. Israel is simply not equipped to deal with such weather conditions.
But now the sun is back, last puddles are drying up, the birds have resumed chirping and tweeting, and light and life are filling the air again.
I don’t think I could live in a place where the sun doesn’t show for weeks on end. I would probably become an addict of some mind-dulling unhealthy substance.
Light and Sun – why are they so important to us (besides the fact that they are necessary for photosynthesis in plants, which are the basis of all life on earth)?
“Light does have an effect on a person’s mood. The amount and wavelength of light affects the different functions of the brain, including the regulation of a person’s thoughts and feelings. With this knowledge comes a realization that simple adjustments in lighting in homes and offices can make a lot of difference to the way a person thinks and feels. Having this in thought, wouldn’t it be equally right to advice a depressed person to ‘get some light?’ ”
“Sunlight triggers our circadian rhythms, our sleep-wake cycles. When sunlight hits the optic nerve, the brain cuts down on the release of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep, and increases production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter tied to wakefulness and feeling happy. When the sun sets, this cycle is reversed, with more melatonin produced and less serotonin. The more sunlight the body receives, the more serotonin the brain produces. In addition, the body also creates vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. High levels of vitamin D help our bodies maintain high levels of serotonin.”
“Lighting can help create excitement in a themed environment. Lighting can help a person navigate through a new space. Lighting can help to bring about a sense of calm and peacefulness in a sacred setting. Lighting can help to add mystery in a theatrical production. And, lighting can cause us to strongly dislike a room which we would otherwise find appealing.”
“…changes in the lighting produced significant changes in the response – impressions such as spaciousness, visual clarity, privacy, pleasantness, relaxation, complexity. By linking lighting to these impressions, Flynn demonstrated that architectural lighting plays a much more significant role in the human experience than simply as an enabler of task performance.”
“An environment that we call, “stimulating,” is one that is both arousing and pleasant, while one that we call, “tense,” is also arousing but a bit unpleasant. A “relaxing” space rates low on arousal but relatively high on pleasure, while a “dreary” space is also low on arousal but elicits a response that is low on pleasure as well.”