Monday, January 3, 2011

Best Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to figure out why you're sad. Are you always depressed after the Christmas holidays because all the excitement and anticipation is over? Or, is there a physical cause for the winter blues, such as a lack of light or the "feel good" hormone, serotonin?

Pinpointing the cause of your depressed feelings can help you beat the winter blues. And, here are more tips for feeling better fast... 

Best Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Learn about light therapy. Light therapy for Season Affective Disorder or seasonal depression involves relaxing for an hour with a light box or special light unit. Different types of light therapy treatment include light therapy lamps, special light alarm clocks, and even salt lamps that provide natural ions. Light therapy, light boxes, or even increased exposure to natural sunlight could help reset the biological clock and decrease the winter blues. Light therapy is often an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder because it allows more light to be absorbed through the skin.

Be kind to others – and gentle with yourself. Ranking high in the studies of what helps people to be optimistic and healthy is helping others. Recently, a customer in the drive-thru line at a Pittsburgh-area Starbucks paid for the coffee of the customer behind her. That customer was so pleased that she then paid for person behind her. The chain continued for two hours! You don’t have to make a grand gesture. To overcome seasonal depression, smile at someone on the street, hold a door open, wave someone into you lane on the freeway.

Learn about herbs that cure depression naturally. In The Brain Wash: A Powerful, All-Natural Program to Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer's, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Parkinson's, and Other Diseases, Michelle Schoffro Cook describes two natural depression medications: St John’s wort and ginkgo biloba. “St John’s wort is particularly effective for depression, particularly for mild to moderate symptoms without the side effects often associated with drugs,” writes Cook. St John’s wort may not be as effective for severe depression, but if you’re not taking any antidepressants, it may be worth a try. “Ginkgo biloba improves neurotransmitter production in the brain and helps bring oxygen-rich blood to the brain to improve functioning,” says Cook. This natural herb may also help fight feelings of despair.

Connect in real ways with other people. I’m not talking about making small talk at parties or with strangers. One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to make connections that renew your spirit and soul. This means different things to different people – but you could interact with people less fortunate than you, perhaps by volunteering at a shelter or hospital. Connect spiritually at your church or temple. Connect with nature by taking a walk through a park or along the coast. Look into your dog or cat’s eyes, and connect with on a soul level.

What do you think of these ways to beat the winter blues? Comments -- and more tips -- welcome below.

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