Ahhhh… Spring is in the air. Your mood is lighter, there’s a little extra bounce in your step, and you find you’re just a little friskier than you were last month.
You’re easily distracted by visions of the attractive girl in the mini-dress or the buff guy in the muscle shirt. You find yourself flirting with the server at your usual lunch time haunts and your mind drifts to thoughts of amorous liaisons and one night interludes.
How could this be? Is there something in the water? Have you suddenly fallen out of love or lust with your partner? Could this be the beginning of the end?
Not at all. You’ve simply caught a wee case of Spring Fever.
Since the dawn of time, Spring Fever has been affecting our amorous behavior every year right around this time. It’s triggered by a number of factors that go far beyond just the shedding of winter woolies in favor of tankinis, shorts and mini-skirts.
Spring Fever is actually driven by a number of critical factors that affect our mood and trigger our “survival instinct”. Everything you’re experiencing is a natural reaction to changes in temperature, light and conception cycles brought on by the onset of Spring.
According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, spending time in warm sunny weather can affect our mood, memory and cognitive style (openness to new information and creative thoughts). “Being outside in pleasant weather really offers a way to re-set your mind-set,” said Matthew Keller, the U-M post-doctoral researcher who led the psychology study. Temperature can have a noticeable impact on our mood. The more time we spend outside in warm, sunny weather, the better our mood becomes. The optimal temperature is 72 degrees.
This ties in with a study by Timothy Werschler and Shiva Halli of the University of Manitoba, on The Seasonal Birth Pattern in Canada which is characterized by a birth peak in April–May, and a trough in December–January. Across Canada, our temperatures average 22 degrees celcius (72 degrees fahrenheit) throughout June, July and August which account for the birth peak April through May.
The amount of natural light we’re exposed to actually impacts our energy levels. In the winter, when the days are shorter, the body is exposed to less natural light and as a result, the Pineal Gland produces more Melatonin – a hormone that impacts the body’s energy level. The more melatonin we produce, the more sluggish and lazy we feel. In the Spring, as the days grow longer, more natural light is filtered through the retina which results in the production of less Melatonin. So, more light equals less Melatonin and in turn more energy. And with more energy, we’ll be more inclined to mate like bunnies in the Spring. The earlier onset of morning light has also been linked to the lifting of winter depression (SADS).
And finally, our natural born instinct to survive through procreation kicks in during the Spring. Historically speaking, we have been pre-programmed to conceive in the late Spring and early Summer so that we could give birth in early Spring when food is more abundant and the climate is more moderate, thereby giving our offspring the best chance of survival. Although our survival is less dependant on the seasons today, it is possible that we are still reacting instinctively to the survival mechanisms of our ancestors.
So next time you find yourself feeling a little more flirty and prone to temptation from outside influences in the Spring, lose the guilt and just enjoy the feeling. It’s a natural reaction to “Spring Fever”.
Conversely, if you happen to notice your partner ogling that hot chick in the mini-dress, or buff guy in the muscle shirt, don’t take it personally. Instead, take advantage of the amorous mood and turn the temptation of a Spring fling into an evening of frisky fun with your partner. It’s likely that they are “suffering” from the same affliction as you and may just surprise you with their enthusiasm.