The Connection Between Love and Light
Last week, after an interview for a Valentine’s Day TV show about love, the reporter gave us a puzzled look when we starting telling her about SunSprite. The idea excited her, but she wanted to know how two psychiatrists who wrote books about marriage, loneliness, and social connections had come up with an idea that had nothing to do with any of the above.
Truth is, we’d kind of wondered that ourselves. And some of our friends and colleagues had asked the same question when they first heard about our newest project.
The simplest answer is that we’ve always been “working psychiatrists” and light therapy has long been a part of how we work. But there turns out to be a fairly deep link between our interest in social connections and our interest in light. Like social support, light is one of those basic and natural parts of human life that play a surprisingly important role in our physical and mental health. Because habits are so difficult to chane, both light exposure and social connections are often neglected in contemporary life – usually in favor of taking a pill for what ails you. And just like social support when we began writing about it, scientific studies demonstrating the importance of bright light have only been emerging in research done over the last couple of decades.
So writing books about relationships and creating SunSprite, as different as they may seem, both represent our efforts to be helpful psychiatrists using non-pharmacological approaches. And both represent our efforts to speak not just to patients with ”problems” but to all people whose lives and well-being can be improved by restoring simple connections to our natural and social worlds.