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Expert Advice on How to Avoid Winter Depression
Winter is in full swing and it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. This has been the year of the snow storm as severe weather has hit almost every state. Even the south has been hit hard by uncharacteristic precipitation and freezing temperatures. For many, with the cold weather comes the grim reality of winter depression or just feeling down.
Winter depression, also referred to as seasonal affective disorder, is a condition which causes sufferers to be sensitive to light (or the lack of it). Studies have shown that people affected by SAD feel better after exposure o bright light. However, there are other things you can do to improve your mood aside from turning your home into a greenhouse, or moving to Phoenix.
Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist and author of Success Through Manipulation, offers some tips on improving your mood this winter:
Change the colors of your environment: Color plays a huge role in setting the mood. This time of year because of a lack of sunlight, it’s best to surround yourself with vibrant bold colors that will lift your spirit and energize you. Think bright reds, oranges and yellows. Try to avoid grays, light blues and white. This can be as easy as painting a bright accent wall to adding small odds and ends that enhance your bedroom, office or any other space.
Pump up the Music: The sounds we hear have a direct correlation on how we feel. Athletes typically listen to high energy music to get them ready to compete, just like many people listen to soothing soft music to get them ready for bed. To boost your mood, listen to music that gets you moving and makes you feel good. They’re usually the songs that make you tap your feet or bob your head up and down.
Drink more water: Dehydration increases blood pressure which in turn increases stress and can quickly bring down your mood. Being hydrated is not only good for your overall health; one eight-ounce glass can quickly help raise your spirits.
Think of happier times: Remembering a happy memory for 10-30 seconds can get you out of a rut. Maybe it’s when you got married or held your child for the first time, or something even simpler like a concert you went to or barbequing with friends and family.
Look up: It sounds simple, but it works. Sit up or stand straight and lift your chin directly towards the ceiling, sky or other high point. This physical movement gives you clarity of thought and automatically makes you feel good. Enhance this simple technique by inhaling deeply from your diaphragm (stomach area), holding for three seconds and exhaling slowly through your lips and dropping your shoulders as you breathe out. Try reciting a statement like “I feel good” or “I feel strong and confident” as you exhale.
Use your brain: If spending more time indoors, become mentally engaged in an activity. It can be something as simple as a crossword puzzle or board game. The key is mental stimulation in some capacity.