Tips for Kissing the “Winter Blues” Goodbye

Tips for Kissing the “Winter Blues” Goodbye
by Robert Wright, Jr., Ph.D., COFT


For many Americans, the winter months represent a period of diminished activity and melancholy, and for many millions of Americans, this season can turn into what’s known as the “Winter Blues”. Did you know that according to recent research studies, 6 out of every 100 Americans may have Sunlight Affective Disorder (SAD)? This means that over 19,000,000 Americans are experiencing symptoms such as having difficulty concentrating, a loss of interest in hobbies or social activities, low mood, and extra fatigue during this time. Did you know that a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control showed a strong connection between healthy behaviors and depression? The study concluded that women engaged in healthy activities such as exercise experienced fewer depressed and sad days than women engaged in less healthy behaviors.

Here are some tips for keeping the “Winter Blues” at bay if you are feeling “down” or particularly “sluggish” during this time:

Seek Professional Assistance: According to the American Psychological Association, if you think you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, you should seek out a qualified professional for treatment. Light therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are often effective treatment protocols.

Get Some Exercise: Regular exercise provides you with more energy during the day and elevates your metabolism while simultaneously releasing beneficial neurochemicals which can elevate your mood.

Get More Sunlight: Figuring out ways to get additional sunlight provides your body with essential Vitamin D and can also improve how you feel.

Change Your Focus of Attention: Research at the PrincetonBiofeedbackCenter, Princeton, NJ has demonstrated that a habitual narrow focused attentional style often results in chronic stress conditions. Learning how to avoid prolonged “tunnel vision” where you can become “consumed” helps reduce your stress, anxiety and associated pain. Learning attentional flexibility helps you relax, improves your mood, and alleviates pain.

Show Appreciation and Gratitude: Recent studies show that when individuals express gratitude and appreciation to others it makes them feel good and elevates their mood. These same studies show that being more self-compassionate causes individuals to be more compassionate and understanding of others too.

Engage in Activities Which Make You Come Alive: Dr. Martin Seligman’s research on Happiness and Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research on “Flow” states both conclude that being more positive can improve longevity and the quality of our lives. So, resolve to have more fun which will improve your life! Make a list of the things you enjoy doing and resolve to do them more often. Do you love to dance? Then make a firm date to put on your dancing shoes and go! Did you ever play an instrument but it’s been years since you last picked it up? Go for it and reexperience the joys of playing and entertaining others!

Be Good to Yourself: Remember that it’s OK to be good to yourself! Self care isn’t being “selfish”; instead, think of it as a wise form of self love. Resolve to do something today that expresses self-love to yourself and enhances your self-worthiness. You’ll be pleasantly surprised and glad you did!

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