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Cortisol

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A sunshiny day can lift your spirits and energize your mind. One study exposed subjects to bright lights after wakening and found it increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, sort of an internal alarm system. To respond to stress, cortisol increases glucose in your bloodstream, and enhances your brain's use of those sugars.

Forest therapy uses immersion in nature to help soothe frayed nerves and restore a sense of mental well-being — and has even been shown to boost our immune systems and help us recover faster from physical maladies. The modern forest therapy movement is rooted in the Shinrin-yoku "forest bathing" practice developed in Japan in the 1980s that has since become a central part of preventative health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

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