Atlanta, GA,
09:30 AM

Springing Forward is About More than the Time Change

Psychologist offers inspiration for a fresh start.

By Jill Koval, Ph.D.
Director, Psychological Services
Shepherd Center Inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Program

The expression, “spring forward” is most often associated with Daylight Savings Time and moving the clock ahead an hour. The same expression, however, can be used when considering the burst of energy and activity that often accompanies spring. So what makes us so excited about spring?

  • It follows the dreariness of winter bringing with it sunshine and warmth. No matter how long winter seems, we always know spring will follow.
  • Our mood improves, bringing increased energy and motivation.
  • We’re likely to get out of the house more often, which creates opportunities to be socially connected.
  • We feel motivated to be more active.
  • We hear more happy sounds, like birds chirping, children playing, adults laughing.
  • We see more beauty in the world, like trees and flowers blooming.

Spring serves as a reminder that there is more to life than just survival, which tends to be the focus during the cold, dark winter. The same is true for painful and difficult seasons in our lives. With time, things do improve, no matter how bleak they might seem. Though we can feel isolated and alone during the winter, there’s a whole world full of people who can relate. Just like the new blooms of spring that need time, sun and water to grow, people flourish with time, healthy habits and companionship.

JILL KOVAL, Ph.D., is the director of psychological services in the Spinal Cord Injury Inpatient Program at Shepherd Center in Atlanta. She has worked at Shepherd Center since 1989. Dr. Koval has a doctorate in psyhcology from George Washington University. You may reach her at

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.