It’s the first day of spring and despite the still wintery weather, the promise of warmer, longer days is in the air. With that comes renewed optimism and energy, making it the perfect time to set new goals and challenges. A far better time in fact, than the changing of the years, when all around are struggling with resolutions, born from the guilt of excessive Christmas and New Year celebrations.

I’ve always marvelled at the power of the seasons. We witness it’s impact on the wildlife around us and for many humans the effect can be equally strong. Our modern world may not be ruled by the flow of the year in the same way as nature, but still the seasons impact our energy and mood.

Why DOES the coming of spring fill us with so much optimism?

As days grow longer and the nights shorter, we feel as though we have more time and energy to invest in ourselves. The natural inclination to do more when the weather is brighter – to get out and make the most of the great outdoors, go on a run rather than snuggling down on the sofa – is proven to derive from the positive impact natural light has on our energy and productivity. Studies of office workers have shown, that those working in buildings benefiting from large levels of natural light are more productive and recorded higher levels of energy than those sat in artificially lit offices.

So not only do we feel like we have more time during these longer days, we also have more energy to get things done.

We benefit from improved sleep quality when days are longer. The increased exposure to natural light has proven to help you get longer, more restful sleep. Artificial light on the other hand, interferes with our natural sleep cycle, potentially resulting in bouts of insomnia.

And there’s more…scientists and psychiatrists have shown, that increased exposure to natural light positively affects our mood. Levels of the “happy” hormone, serotonin, are elevated as the days become longer. Serotonin is the reason we feel energised and happier after exercise. So getting outside for that brisk walk on a spring day has to be the best cure for the foulest of moods.

Lastly, the reason I find spring such a great motivator, is that for most of the challenges set, the deadline is suddenly much closer than at the start of the year and a looming deadline really focuses the attention. The urgency to shape up and be beach ready becomes more acute the nearer we are to summer. That holiday you wanted to book now doesn’t seem so far away and the financial goals you had set for the year now need to be achieved in a realistic 9 months, rather than a leisurely 12.

A Happy New Spring to you all. Embrace the new energy and dust off the resolutions broken at the beginning of the year. You’ll be much better equipped to succeed thanks to those longer spring days ahead.