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Let the sun shine in

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray, you’ll never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.

Now that you have that little ditty stuck in your head, let’s talk about happiness and sunshine. To most people, sunshine is a beautiful thing. It warms our skin, helps the flowers grow and, though this may be a surprise to some, it can also help increase productivity. Have you ever noticed on those dreary, gray days that you’re more depressed, less motivated and really just aren’t inspired to do much? That’s common for a lot of people, and in the work place especially, depression and lack of motivation often brings with it less productivity overall.

With the arrival of spring and summer, we’re in luck! Sunshine abounds. Now is the time to recharge with the sun’s help. Most often, when someone’s mood is better their motivation increases and therefore productivity increases, too. Think about it: what is your mood like when you arrive at work in the dark and leave work in the dark? When you’re happy and in a good mood, don’t you normally feel much better about the task at hand? For most people, that is the case.

Nancy Cook, employee assistance counselor at the Center for Healthy Living on campus, agrees.

"Recent studies do support the notion that natural sunlight does improve productivity, both in the work and classroom environment. Sitting by a window, working outside or even a brief walk outside may be just the ticket to getting more accomplished," Cook says.

If possible, take a short break and go outside to soak up the sun or use your lunch hour to sit outside or take a walk. However you get access to the sunshine, do it safely. The American Cancer Society recommends wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself. As with most things, moderation is key. Enjoy the sunshine! Let your mood be brightened and your productivity increased –  but keep sun safety in mind, as well.

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