© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Hands up, anyone who feels slower, more down, or more blah during the winter! Or on gray days? Have you been feeling gloomy when the weather is, well, gloomy? You have Gloom Stress! And maybe you are one of the estimated 10 million people who have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. People with SAD report symptoms typically in the winter, when days are shorter. These symptoms include feeling sluggish, feeling “down”, lacking energy, and craving carbohydrates. People who eat for energy while affected by SAD may, sadly, gain weight. A side effect of feeling sluggish may be the tendency to exercise less, leading to a decrease in metabolic efficiency and therefore a further decrease in mood and vitality.
Depression is when your engine isn’t powering up. It might take a few pushes, an oil change, or you may have to take yourself to a loving engineer to fix you right up. If all does not work, getting a new engine isn’t always a bad idea. It’s a fresh start on your continuing journey.
If you’re taking antidepressants, consider waiting until the days are longer, before concluding your depression needs a stronger prescription. Coordinate with your doctor. And do check out some of the other options, while the days are shorter.
Certainly, feeling bluesy slows you down and CAUSES stress. How can you ever get your Stuff done? How can you respond to conversations, phone calls, and emails? So how does this disorder work? In the brain, the hypothalamus is supposed to start the body’s clock each day, and it responds to strong light. With less light, you don’t get a great clock startup. However, light therapy has been used successfully to treat this disorder.
Whole light tubes for desk lamps, and light masks for a person to wear, were early attempts to help people get metabolize more light and feel better in short order. Today, you can buy therapy lamps, light boxes, and even “dawn simulators”. One style of lamp comes on with a low light that gradually increases to the brightness of daylight. However, a new light therapy is showing promise. Dr. Dan Oren, a psychiatrist at Yale University, has created a “light band”, which straps onto the back of the affected person’s knee. The light band is plugged in to recharge overnight, then unplugged and worn by the person, in the morning, for an hour. Dr. Oren hopes this particular green light will be proven to actually absorb into the bloodstream, through the skin.
Make sure you have relatively bright light in your home and office. Drink warm beverages, which raise your metabolic rate. Hold the mug in your hands and feel the warmth. Wear cheerful colors and use rich, joyful colors in your home. Experiment with colors to find the ones that uplift you most. Many find yellow is the most uplifting.
Want that antidepressant effect? Want your brain back in alignment with your sleep/wake cycle? Then try some of these self-helps. Look at the latest light therapy options, and talk with your doctor. You’ll soon beat gloom stress and be back in Upbeat Living, for all year round.
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- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc ). Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.
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