Can Light Therapy Effectively Alleviate Stress?

Have you noticed yourself feeling gloomy during the winter season? It’s not a secret that most people feel down and helpless during winter or fall. It is the time of the year when people just want to hibernate because of the bleak surroundings.

There is an entire shift in the hues of our surroundings from summer time to winter days. If one would study the feng shui of colors, this fact affects the choice of colors if you want your home to look joyful and lively. Thus, scientists and doctors have formulated the so-called light therapy or phototherapy.

The Basic Idea Of Light Therapy

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The idea of light therapy stems from seasonal affected disorder (SAD), characterized by the feeling of fatigue, over-sleeping, anxiety, depression, restlessness, and irritability during the shorter days of winter. This mood disorder can hit even people who have normal mental health throughout the year.

From the name itself, SAD occurs because the mood of people gets affected by the decrease of sunlight which eventually disrupts their internal body clock. The reduced sunlight can have an impact on the levels of serotonin in the brain. This chemical is a brain neurotransmitter which generally affects the mood and emotions of a person. The decrease of sunlight can also cause a drop of melatonin which controls sleep patterns.

Common medications of SAD are medication, psychotherapy, and, the most popular one, light therapy (phototherapy). The last involves the use of artificial light to mimic the spectrum of natural light or simulate springtime sunrise. Light therapy may include blue-light glasses, blue-light-emitting boxes, bright light sun visors, and a timer.

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Will It Work Even For Mild Depression?

What light therapy does is to simulate a happy vibe brought about by natural daylight. Even if the said light is just a mimic by machines and lamps, it helps alleviate feelings of depression. There may be critics who regard this as a mere placebo, but it cannot be denied by the simple observation that the color of sunrise does something different to our moods.

Consider light as a nutrient that when absorbed by the body would do wonders to your being.  It may not be instantaneous, but the effects will be noticeable. Phototherapy operates through a spectrum of light and wavelength. Light waves enter the eyes and stimulate photoreceptors. These receptors can transform light into electrical impulses and directly affect the pituitary and pineal glands. These glands play a significant part in our nervous and endocrine system.

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In other words, one doesn’t need to have major depression to avail of the benefits of light therapy. Morning and summer light can reduce stress levels on the brain through the effects of light waves and frequencies that enter the eye. Other than improving sleep patterns, simulated light can re-program the mind from the dark vibes brought about by stress and its factors.

The key to achieving the goal with this light therapy is consistency.  For people experiencing mild stress and fatigue, there are DIY light therapies that are available in the market. These products can already significantly help you alleviate such stress. However, for those already experiencing suicidal thoughts or major depressive symptoms, a doctor’s prescription and clinical treatment should be prioritized.

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