Most of us love the sun. It makes us feel great, makes us happier, improves our tan and gives us a general good feeling about the day. But did you know that you can become addicted to the sun? UV exposure releases beta-endorphines (neurotransmitters that act like pain suppressors) in the body, which bind to opioid receptors, making you feel good, and reinforcing the pattern of sun-seeking. It is important that you control your urges and impulses to sunbath, because too much of it can promote a new addiction.
Sun bathing can also be psychologically addictive. The warm feeling of the sun on your body and the nice tan that comes along with it, reinforces your behavior of going back out there and seeking that nice feeling. Like anything that feels good in life, our brain rewards us with releasing dopamine in the nucleus accumbens – the reward center of our brain; the sun is no exception.
What are the health benefits of sun exposure?
- It promotes the production of vitamin D (vitamin D protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, improves brain function and strengthens bones)
- It decreases your risk of developing colon cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer
- It may help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne
- It helps improve depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and sleep quality
- It helps make you happier by promoting socialization with friends and family
What are the harmful effects of sun exposure?
- Premature skin aging and wrinkles
- Skin damage
- Skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma)
- Damage to the retina of the eye (is also a factor in the development of cataracts)
- Heat exhaustion (headache, nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating, elevated body temperature)
- Heat stroke (confusion, slurred speech, seizures and loss of consciousness)
- And last but not least, it can turn you into a BURNED OUT BEACH BUM
As you can see, the sun can be quite awesome but too much of it can cause a burnout (no pun intended). Always wear sunscreen and sunbath in moderation.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)