“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”Pailo Coelho
I have always loved sunsets, don’t you? Here are 4 (science-backed!) reasons you should get out and watch as many sunsets as you can along with some of my favourite sunsets I have been fortunate to enjoy.
As the sun drops down low on the horizon; to reach us, sunlight passes through more air at sunset and sunrise than it does during the day. More air means more atmosphere that scatters the violet and blue light away from your eyes. Sometimes, all of the blue and violet light is scattered from our line of sight leaving the other colours (yellows, reds, oranges) to reach our view.
1. Sunsets: Give you perspective on your life
“According to research by psychological scientists of Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Minnesota Carlson School of Management, the studies found that jaw-dropping moments [like breathtaking sunsets] made participants feel like they had more time available and helped them to be more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to volunteer time to help others.” (Link to Source).
It’s not about escaping your problems, but taking time-out to see them in a new light. Increased patience means we are better able to think through life’s problems and less likely to blow them out of proportion.
Wonders of nature connect us to a force greater than just ourselves and this can energise us to do more than think of just ourselves.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”Albert Einstein
2. Sunsets: Help you to feel better
Research has demonstrated that watching sunsets stimulates the pineal gland as the direct sunlight hits the eye, moves through the retinal-hypothalamic tract, and then hits the brain. This stimulates the pineal gland, also known as the “master gland”. This boosts the secretion of melatonin and serotonin, our “feel-good” hormones. Sunset time is the safest time to gaze at the sun. (Link to Source)
Sunsets not only improve your mental health but your physical wellbeing too. Maybe part of the benefit is the walk and fresh air you had to get in order to experience the sunset! The best sunsets are experienced outside and in nature where you are going to feel less stress and anxiety.
3. Sunsets: Improve your attitude
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order”John Burroughs
Research has described what happens to our brains when we witness something beautiful and awe-inspiring, such as a sunset “the emotion that arises when one encounters something so strikingly vast that it provokes a need to update one’s mental schemas.” (Link to Source)
You cannot enjoy a good sunset without feeling the emotion of gratitude. Thankful that you were able to catch this great vista and other life concerns and distractions seem to disappear for a moment.
Another study found that “greater engagement with beauty was associated with higher levels of life satisfaction, gratitude and a spiritual outlook. The association was strongest for engagement with natural beauty. There’s a natural tendency to stop and stare at a breathtaking sunset. When you do so, you’re likely to be caught up in the moment, and your mind gets a break from fretting over the past or worrying about the future.” (Link to Source)
“Don’t forget: Beautiful sunsets need cloudy skies”Paulo Coelho
Sunsets remind us that we need the clouds in our lives to help us appreciate the clear skies. You might even start being grateful for the problems that come your way and give you opportunities for growth and experience.
4. Sunsets: are free
“There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it”Charlotte Eriksson
Apart from those days when the cloud is covered over, you can always get to witness sunsets and you can watchfor free. Perhaps because they are free, we take them for granted and do not take time-out to enjoy them as much as we could.
Next time you notice a good sky with sunset potential, see if you can change your plans and go to a good open spot to enjoy the view. If you are more a morning person, the same is true of sunrises – they are free too and offer the same benefits!
“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under.”C. Joybell C.
The best time to start watching is 30-45 minutes before sunset time, which you can easily find in your weather app. Some of the best light can be both before the sun sets and also a little while after.
“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.”Mahatma Gandhi