Soulful Sundays: Sunlight before screen light 💌

Ever heard of the phrase ‘sunlight before screen light’? Anna Taylor shared this theory on a recent Instagram post and we delved a little deeper. It seems apt as we have just welcomed the month of March and with it, more light in our life.

TJ Power is a is a neuroscientist and on his recent interview with Fearne Cotton on the Happy Place podcast Fearne described TJ as “the brain behind our brains”. TJ struggled with addictive behaviours, so he knows first hand how to spot unhelpful habits from hangovers to endless scrolling on our phones, but he also teaches people how to manage these habits.

TJ says “We as humans spent 300,000 years evolving out in nature. These chemicals {dopamine, oxytocin ,serotonin and endorphins} during those 300,000 years, like every part of us were evolving and trying to help us. Dopamine for example, if we were out there hunting and looking for food and building shelter it would reward these behaviours and suddenly our dopamine would go up because those behaviours were vital to surviving. If you then put a hunter gatherer in the modern world like our ancestors in the modern world and suddenly they have sugar phones and sat inside all day and sleeping and became disconnected all these these chemicals would drop and that really is where we're at as a society, all of these chemicals are low for all of us”.

So what can we do about this?

The key is to understand the full primary brain chemicals that influence our feelings and behaviours - think dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins (DOSE to help you remember).

Our brain chemicals are attributing to how we are feeling, what our mood is, and our baseline mental health. Tj said “these brain chemicals are at the core of how a human being functions”.

Tj recommends these tips to start making changes to your lifestyle right now when we think about dopamine.

  • Upon waking we have high levels of dopamine so it is important to do something with that level of dopamine and not simply pick up your phone.
  • Instead of picking up your phone, do something that engages effort - walk to the bathroom and splash water on your face, stand outside for a few minutes, make your bed, this short 5-10 minute window shifts the trajectory of your day.
  • If you want to feel happier in this modern world you need to be more intune to how what you do makes you feel. So instead of picking up your phone if you choose to go for a walk, take time to notice the difference in how it made you feel. This will help you make the right decision next time.
  • Buy an alarm clock - one of the most essential ways to stop looking at your phone first thing in the morning.

Listen to the podcast to find out more about the other chemicals and the changes you can make right now.

We would love to know your thoughts, email and let us know your morning routine and what helps you.