How Does Light Therapy Help with Anxiety?
You may have heard that lightbox therapy helps with mental well-being. It improves your mood, sleep habits, and focus. But how does it specifically help with anxiety?
Light Therapy Increases the Brain’s Ability to Handle Emotion
Denmark’s Neurobiology Research Unit at the Copenhagen University Hospital fellow Brenda McMahon published a 2014 study in Biological Psychiatry that followed 30 healthy males as they received 30 minutes of daily light therapy for three weeks.
The results of the study showed that the brain improved its ability to control fear and anger. Per Dr. McMahon, “If people are exposed to light in the morning that mimics the wavelengths of daylight, they become better at coping with anxiety-provoking experiences. The light simply improves the communication between the regions of the brain that are central to our handling of emotions, such as stress and anxiety.”
The study proves that light therapy creates positive changes in the brain, especially in the amygdala, where our fear and anger responses are controlled.
Improved Quality of Sleep Lowers Anxiety Levels
Light therapy resets your circadian rhythm, allowing you to improve your sleep patterns and awaken refreshed. For many people, thirty minutes of light therapy can be more effective than medication for improving sleep.
Not only does better sleep improve your overall physical health, but being well-rested also decreases anxiety and enhances the brain’s ability to cope with fear or anger.
Increases Your Serotonin and Vitamin D Levels
Serotonin is your natural mood stabilizer. Increasing your serotonin levels allows for better control of your emotions so you can feel more focused, happier, and calmer.
Additionally, light therapy helps to combat vitamin D deficiency, another condition that has been linked to anxiety.
Treating Your Anxiety with Light Therapy
Here are a few helpful tips to help you treat your anxiety symptoms with light therapy:
- Choose a light that is at least 10,000 lux
- Do your treatments in the morning
- Treatment time should range from 20 minutes to a half-hour to be most effective
- Sit directly in front of your lightbox
- Position the lightbox at eye level for the best results
Make sure you purchase equipment from a reputable dealer like The SunBox Company