By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…
Let’s face it. We humans love the sun exposure. If it weren’t for feelings of guilt, brought about by those who would rob us of our sun exposure, most of us would be soaking up much more sun. Nothing could be more natural than sun exposure, and a recent study from the scientific Journal PLOS ONE, helps us to understand that our natural inclinations lead us to the sunlight.
The researchers analyzed data from 444 employees from both India and the US, and assessed them for job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Their goal was to investigate the effects of natural elements and sunlight on their performance. They found that natural elements such as plants, nature scenes and flowers improved mood and mental health. However, sun exposure had a considerably stronger effect than natural elements on mental health and was also positively related to job satisfaction and organizational commitment, both of which are important to productivity.
Direct sunlight, or the lack thereof, was a dominant predictor of anxiety, whereas indirect sunlight, or the lack thereof was a dominant predictor of depressed mood, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment.
Many previous studies have also demonstrated that sun enhances mood. One of the most interesting was from the United Arab Emirates. Twenty people with depressive symptoms were split into two groups; one group was asked to spend more time in the sun, and another group was asked to see a doctor. The experiment lasted for seven weeks and showed that those who spent more time in the sun had fewer symptoms of depression than those who visited a doctor.
Obviously, sun exposure has a wonderful influence on the brain. Keep your sunny side up!
 An M, Colarelli S, O’Brien K, Boyajian M. Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes. PLoS One. 2016 May 23;11(5):e0155614.
 Chad Brooks, Open the Shades! Exposure to Outdoors Improves productivity. Business News Daily. July 22, 2016.