Morning Has Broken, Bringing Life-Giving Light
I have always loved the song "morning has broken" by Cat Stevens which first made an appearance in the 1970s...
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day
And of course the life-giving light it brings is always very welcome.
Why light is so important
- Every aspect of how we function is controlled by light. In winter we are seeing a lot less sunlight.
- There are perils when we live without light or sunlight. Unfortunately, modern life has meant some of us have almost gone back to the Stone Age, retreating to an almost cave-like existence. This can lead to mood changes and even depression.
- People are not getting enough sunlight, in fact the amount we receive has gone down in the past twenty years and even more so during past three years.
- Artificial life depends on artificial light.
- The lack of light and sunlight during winter can mean that our immune system is less effective while a disrupted circadian clock can affect our mood and lead to increased depression or more metabolic disorders.
- The wavelengths that have the most powerful impact are the bluish-coloured ones. Our eyes have cells with a pigment that is sensitive to this blue light, signally to our body clock to tell it the time of day.
- Working night shifts can radically affect the way our body regulates itself with some 97% of shift workers finding they are unable to adjust their sleep cycles. The World Health Organization regards shift work as a threat to people's health.
- We all need to get out in the sunlight more. And it is not enough to be behind glass. A good dose of bright sunlight will elevate our mood and improve our feelings of wellbeing.
- Don't think of your skin as a barrier but as a living organ, there to make vitamin D from that sunlight when you expose as much as skin as possible for some twenty minutes (or until the skin starts to turn pink) between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. The darker your skin, the longer you need to be in the sun for your skin to convert sunlight into vitamin D.
The way forward
Make the decision to get outside more!
And in addition, have your meals at the right time, go to bed at consistent times for a good night's sleep and make sure you get outside (whatever the weather) for exercise and light exposure.
Simply by being outside and exposing yourself to light, you will strengthen your circadian clock and provide a beneficial impact on your health and wellbeing.
"Morning has broken" for these five different opportunities
- Start the day with a good breakfast or you could even take that breakfast outdoors or at least a cup of tea or coffee for a few minutes of quiet headspace to clear your mind and connect with nature.
- Go for an early morning walk.
- Or fit in an early morning workout.
- Get a head start on the day ahead. A bit of extra time in the morning to get tasks done and out of the way.
- Or do something you love before the rest of the world starts its busy time.
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