Tuesday, June 28th 2022, 2:37 pm - According to psychotherapist Zuwaina Murad, watching the sunset for even a short period of time has a number of positive benefits.
As we head into a post-pandemic era, mental health is at the forefront of conversation. Now more than ever, we’re faced with hectic schedules, places to be, and constantly worrying about the next step. We’re engineered to move fast, and it’s easy to forget that sometimes you just need a break.
We’re always focusing on the next moment instead of living in the current moment. But what if taking just ten minutes out of your day to watch the sunset had the power to slow down time and give you that much needed break?
According to psychotherapist Zuwaina Murad, watching the sunset for even a short period of time has a number of positive benefits.
“The fact of our reality right now is that our lives are so busy and we tend to fill up any free time we have with passive activities, watching tv, scrolling social media,” said Murad. “If we take time to watch the sunset, it creates us to be more intentional with how we spend our time.”
There’s a lot of therapeutic value to the practice, and Murad stresses the importance of building a routine around activities that make us more thoughtful, and make us reflect on the day and our thoughts.
“The idea behind this is, if you invest in your own self care, it actually enhances your productivity because you’re working against burnout.”
Especially after the past couple of years, Murad said many of her patients have adopted mindfulness techniques, including journaling, and sunset gazing, to contrast their busy work and home lives.
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According to the psychotherapist, she says it makes a world of a difference. “This allows us to process, think about goals, build motivation, and let go of a lot of our stresses,” said Murad.
There is also a scientific aspect to the benefits of watching the sunset.
According to a 2019 study, researchers found that practicing mindfulness thickens and strengthens parts of the brain. It mainly focuses on the prefrontal cortex, which controls cognitive behavior, personality, decision making, and social behavior.
In addition, it also strengthens the hippocampus, which has a vital role in learning and memory. The amygdala, which defines and regulates emotions like stress and depression, is also a major part of the brain that benefits from practices like watching the sunset.
So, grab a blanket, a great spot, and a great view—and take ten minutes out of your day to take a break from life, and watch the sunset.
Thumbnail courtesy of Dawn Dreher.