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Psychologists say spring helps improve mental health

Posted at 10:45 AM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 16:18:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Spring is here, and people in Kansas City are ready to be outside, enjoying every second.

"I feel like a lot of things can be resolved with fresh air. I love opening the windows in the spring, it's my favorite time," said KC resident Zakila Smith.

When the weather gets warm, people in the metro flock to parks to enjoy the sunshine.

"It makes me feel good, like real good," said Brittany Marshall of Kansas City.

Glimpses of warmth and sunshine are on the horizon after the harsh realities of winter seemed to make an appearance week after week.

Psychologists say the seasonal changes spring brings spreads joy.

"So when it gets warm and the sun's out and it's nice, there are patios everywhere open. People want to get out and get back together. One major improvement is that we actually feel more like doing things," said Dr. Greg Nawalanic, clinical psychologist at the University of Kansas Health System.

It also improves mental health, reducing feelings of fatigue and sadness brought on by the cold darkness of winter.

"In the winter, seasonal affective disorder is a thing for anywhere between 10% and 20% of the population, which is a nice big chunk, and so what you're going to see around that as people, their melatonin gets dysregulated, and they feel a lot of symptoms of depression as a result of that," Nawalanic said.

So once those beautiful days start to become a regular thing, embrace it.

"Remember how the winter was, and when you would have done anything to get outside and cook some chicken on a grill or some barbecue, whatever,” Nawalanic said. “Get out and do those things and make sure to connect with other people.”

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.