The Science Behind The Heliotropic Effect

Everyone has seen it. Plants sitting on a window sill lean towards the sun in order to soak up the energy it provides. This is called heliotropism. If you were to spend the day watching a plant, lets say a sunflower, you would see it track the sun from east to west as the sun rises and sets.

The science behind heliotropism has to do with a plant’s circadian rhythm. Every living thing has this circadian rhythm, or “body clock” that signals the body when to rise, rest, and eat. The circadian rhythm is affected by light and temperature. So, when a plant detects sunlight, it’s circadian rhythm tells it to rise and draw energy from the sun.

Although human survival is less dependent on the sun, we still draw energy from it. When our skin is exposed to the sun’s UV rays, our bodies produce vitamin D which helps with bone growth. Not only is the sun important for our physical health, but there have also been studies that show the chemical/hormonal effect on our mental health.

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that affects mood. When our brains have higher levels of serotonin, we feel happier, more satisfied and overall calmer. When there is a lack of serotonin in the brain, we feel anxious and often depressed.

A study done in Australia on brain chemicals, found a direct relationship between sunlight and serotonin levels in the brain. Meaning we are happier and calmer when exposed to the sun.

Although Be the Sun, Not the Salt is primarily metaphorical to encourage people to uplift and energize others, there is significant scientific research to show that people who give off positive energy can have an astoundingly positive impact on the physical and mental health of those around them.

Managers and executives who practice heliotropic leadership tend to have happier, calmer, and more productive employees. Those managers and leaders who approach their employees with negative energy, often diminish spirits and productivity.

Next time you interact with someone, whether it’s in the office, the kitchen or walking down the street, try giving off positive energy. Be conscious of how your energy is affecting that person. Be the sun they might need today!

Be the Sun, Not the Salt is planting seeds for a movement. A movement to encourage people to Be the Sun, Not the Salt. Learn more about Be the Sun, Not the Salt on our website.


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