For some time now I have tried to form a habit of trying to watch either the sun rise or the sun set depending on the time of the year. It seems the sunsets are a little better this time of the year, where I am currently located.
I suggested to a friend last week to try and do the same. Something inside you gradually changes when you do.
I started this to keep up my discipline of rising early and to practice photography, but when I looked into it there were actual studies into the effects of taking five minutes out a day to watch to sun breach to the world.
1) Linked to lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins that cue the immune system to work harder). Moments that contribute to a feeling of awe, which research has shown has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
2) When sunlight stimulates the retinas in your eyes, it triggers your brain to produce serotonin.
3) Exposing yourself to early morning light helps develop a healthy circadian rhythm,
4) A theory called attention restoration theory (ART) suggests that spending time in nature, or even just looking at it, can reduce mental fatigue and boost concentration. The theory posits that the brain can only focus on a specific stimulus or task for a limited amount of time. But exposure to the natural environment promotes more effortless brain function and allows your brain to recover and restore its ability to concentrate.
5) The Spectrum of Light at Sunrise. The electromagnetic spectrum includes all the frequencies generated by the sun. In order from the highest to the lowest frequencies, we have gamma rays, xrays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light (violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red), infrared radiation, microwaves, and radio waves. While all of the sun’s radiation affects our health, deep red light at the end of the visual light spectrum is emerging as an important activator against the threat of aging.
Red light that borders the infrared spectrum has the lowest frequency (slow waves) in the visual light spectrum, while violet and blue light, which border the ultraviolet spectrum, have the highest frequency (fast waves). Because blue light has a higher frequency, it produces more energy and heat than lower-frequency red light.
During sunrise and sunset, the sun is lower in the sky and the sun’s rays penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere at an angle. Rays hitting Earth from low on the horizon scatter low-frequency blue light, while higher-frequency red light remains intact. This is why we see more red and less blue during sunrise and sunset. The blue sky we see during the day is a result of the easily scattered nature of higher-frequency blue light.
During the sunrise and sunset, ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause damage, are also blocked at this time, since they have higher frequencies, similar to blue light. (One study discovered that when your shadow is taller than you while you stand then you are getting the optimal exposure to red and infrared light while being protected from UV radiation.)
Whilst we only ever seem to hear about the importance of Vitamin D which is made by UVB, morning sun is actually incredibly important because it’s saturated in infrared and blue light. There is no UV light first thing in the morning – neither UVA or UVB.
“Witnessing a beautiful mountain range or a dramatic thunderstorm, there’s something magical about watching the sun rise or set. These moments help put things in perspective and remind us of the bigger picture. Even our problems seem minuscule when viewing them from a bird’s-eye view. What could be better than starting off your morning with a colorful sunrise? This practice allows you to start the day with a calm and peaceful vibe. And if you make it a daily habit, it can contribute to a regular routine
It will make you more grateful for Earth. Beauty enriches life and makes it much more rewarding. It has been proven that watching the sunrise or sunset gives you a better sense of gratitude for the earth. When you are caught up in the natural beauty of the Earth (like a sunset), you rid yourself of any distractions and feel higher levels of satisfaction and gratitude for what’s happening in front of you.
The sunset, something completely intangible, has the power to stop countless people, and remind them just how beautiful life is when you choose to see it. Make watching sunrise a sacred ritual, taking a moment of gratitude while bathing in nature.”
The above 12 paragraphs could be absolute crap for all I know. What I do know is the practice of making the effort has changed me and there is at-least 5 minutes in a day when I don’t have to think about anything else other than a beautiful piece of artwork in front of me, that is different every single day.