Tue07162019

Last updateMon, 29 Apr 2019 1pm

Lifestyles

Spring Fever: Fact or Fiction?

It’s finally spring. Well, that’s what the calendar tells us as March 20 marked the first official day of the spring season. Back in February, the groundhog told the nation that an early spring would wipe out winter this year. However, there still has been some recent snow and cold temperatures in the air.

We have been hearing the term “spring fever” since the 1600s, but what does it actually mean today? Is it just a term used to associate good weather and a good mood, or do we actually experience some type of psychological change?

Famous writer, Mark Twain, describes spring fever as the craving for something, people just do not know what that something is.

“It’s spring fever. When you’ve got it, you want - oh you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes you heart ache you want it so!” Twain wrote.

American colonists actually created the term ‘spring fever’ and knew exactaly what they wanted. When the colonists would go long winters without fresh fruits and vegetables, they felt fatigue or weakness all winter and come spring, they nourished themselves with fresh fruits and vegetables. Besides fever describing a rise in body temperature, dictionary.com says “a state of nervous excitement or agitation.” Thus, the spring would create a nervous excitement for crops to grow.

According to the LA Times, some scientists do think spring fever is more than just a phrase we use to associate good mood and good weather. They think it is a cluster of symptoms brought about by hormonal changes in the body.

In spring, people tend to leave the comfort of their warm homes and embrace these hormonal changes by enjoying outdoor activities such as playing an outdoor sport or biking.

Nutrition professor Amanda Enright has a first hand experience in the transition to outdoor exercise when spring rolls around.

“My favorite thing to do on the first really nice, warm day of the year is go for a long bike ride on the boardwalk,” Enright said. “I love riding over to the Asbury Park boardwalk and treating myself to one of the many goodies they have like Korean tacos, crepes or ice cream.”

Another exercise which captivates many during the warm months is running, an activity that releases endorphins, which is often the known as a ‘runner’s high.’

During the change of weather to warmer months, people often experience a positive mood lift that many merely blame on the weather, when in fact, the spring fever feeling is due in part to hormones in our own bodies.

In winter, the body secretes large amounts of melatonin, the hormone that is chief in administrating sleep-wake cycles.

When spring comes around, the increasing amount of daylight is picked up by light-sensitive tissue in the eye, so it signals the brain to stop making as much melatonin. Though our sleep pattern can at first be disturbed by setting our clocks back, eventually, when the hormone levels drop from the melanin, it is actually easier for us to be awake.

Being more awake, in turn, puts us in a less drowsy mood so we have more energy to complete our daily tasks.

Graziella Ruffa, a freshman business major says her type of spring fever comes from exercise. “When you feel the spring breeze brush against your skin and smell the brisk air, you know it’s time to get outside and play some soccer.”

Furthermore, less severe sicknesses occur in the spring as well, like the flu, which may also be contributors of positive mood changes.

People are also happier during the spring. These happy vibes actually come from an increase in the hormone, serotonin. Serotonin is the hormone responsible for a sudden lust for life.

“Spring makes me happy because it’s warm and the sun seems to be out more. It’s a time where everyone around you is happier, so all the positivity around me just reciprocates,” sophomore communication major Allie Phillips said.

According to the Huffington Post, a 2008 study found that in the fall and winter, there is a greater level of a serotonin transmitted in the brain. The transmitter removes more of the serotonin in those two seasons than during the spring and summer, so more of the happiness hormone comes in the warmer months.

Spring is also known as the time when couples either begin their relationship or end their relationship. A large part of this is due to a specific chemical element called pheromone. This chemical is known to spark sexual responses amongst the same species. This often is pinned for the spring fever affect on relationships.

Elle reports that human beings generally feel flirtatious around the beginning of spring and assume many people feel the same way.

For instance, Elle says those affected by spring fever feel the “come-hither voice on the customer-service line is making you flushed.” While a little eccentric, it does bring up the point that many people are influenced by spring fever without even knowing it.

Besides these specific facts, spring fever can occur from just spending more time outside. With sunshine, comes Vitamin D. The University of Texas conducted a study as they examined 12,500 patients over four years. The study found that those who lacked Vitamin D were more likely to experience clinical depression.

For sophomore communication major Laurel Weber, the sun is enough motivation for people  to be in a more pleasant state.

“I think people act happier in the spring because it’s almost summer and you’re not all cooped up trying to stay out of the freezing cold,” Weber said.

“I know I tend to act happier because I know classes are coming to a close.”

Whatever your way of welcoming spring is, get outside and enjoy the weather. Just beware that in the next couple months, if you are feeling especially good for no reason, watch out; you may have caught the fever.

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