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The Science Of Why Spring Makes Us Happy

There are medically proven explanations for why our minds and bodies generally feel better when the season changes. So, goodbye Winter Blues, and hello Spring Euphoria!

Happy iris
Happy iris
Valentin Frimmer

BERLIN — Spring is finally here, and thanks to the sun’s warming rays, many people are now in very good moods. But while many believe the first warm days of the year simply feel good, spring euphoria is not an illusion — it can be scientifically explained.

We asked three researchers in different disciplines to describe the relationship between good weather and happy moods.

The psychologist. Human beings are programmed to rest when it’s dark, and to be active and in high spirits when it’s light, says Peter Walschburger, professor emeritus of biopsychology at the Freie Universität Berlin. “We react massively to light,” so conscious experience and human behavior change radically on fine spring days.

“Suddenly there are lots of people out and about, so you have a tendency to go outside,” he says. Of course, spring also means a different wardrobe that tends to show off our bodies more than winter duds, which stimulates attraction. “You see more couples out strolling,” he says. “There’s a general resonance effect.” Scents and bird song also influence us, Walschburger says. “So spring is an unbelievable time,” as opposed to winter, when we live a more confined existence, sleeping longer and putting on a little weight.

The endocrinologist. Sun rays change our hormonal balance. Hormones that have a particularly strong influence on our moods are the sleep hormone melatonin and the happiness hormone serotonin, explains Helmut Schatz, spokesman for the German Society of Endocrinology. When it gets light earlier and the sun shines more strongly, more light hits the eye. Thus the pineal gland — sometimes called the third eye — sends an order to the brain to lower melatonin production, “which makes us more lively.”

At the same time, serotonin increases in the body when it’s sunny, and with more of the happiness hormone in our blood, our moods improve. Warmth also impacts our moods, although the cold doesn’t necessarily contribute to worse moods. As Schatz points out, a cold winter’s day is not necessarily a downer. “You also feel pretty good sitting in front of a ski hut in the sun,” he says.

The doctor. People are sensitive to weather and always have been. “It’s in our genes, it’s ancient,” says medical meteorologist Gerhard Lux of the DWD weather service. Though our wellbeing in no longer weather-dependent — because of air-conditioning and heating — the weather still influences us.

In spring, both the sun’s rays and a seasonal rhythm are responsible for a spring in our steps. “Suddenly, we feel like going somewhere where we can get a cool beer or an ice cream,” Lux says. “The wish to be a part of things is activated.”

Certain effects of light lead the body to focus on particular desires such as food and sex. In principle, it’s a positive sign, when the body reacts positively to a beautiful day, he says. “It’s a sign that things are in good working order.”

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGOTikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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