Are You Sad? Four Tools To Release The Winter Blues
What an appropriate acronym.
It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I used to live in the arctic. In winter, we didn't see the sun
for many months. I am acutely aware of the winter blues and how people are
affected emotionally, physically, and intellectually. Much has been written on
the subject, so I would like to provide you with some supplemental information.
Research has demonstrated that exposure to natural light has a
positive effect on human health, emotional well-being, and therefore learning.
Some of the common symptoms of lack of natural light are fatigue, disturbed
sleep patterns, appetite and weight disorders, depression, skin damage, and
suppressed immune functions. During the short days of winter, a common problem
is Seasonal Affective Disorder. The symptoms can be easily remedied through
daily exposure to sunlight. Alternatively, Bright Light Therapy
(phototherapy), using a minimum of ten thousand lux units for thirty minutes in
the early morning, will often cure SAD. Just to put this into perspective, even
the cloudiest day is rarely below ten thousand lux, and a sunny afternoon could
be as much as one-hundred thousand lux. Do your own research to understand the
current technology for Bright Light Therapy devices.
The commonly-used fluorescent tubes, found in many offices and
training facilities, have only narrow spectrum light, and they also emit a
constant pulsing that can create stress and fatigue. A study of 750 classrooms ((21,000
students) in California, Washington, and Colorado found that students in
classrooms with windows and skylights learned 20 to 26 percent faster than
students in classrooms with the least natural light exposure. A Florida study of
two first grade classrooms found that full-spectrum lighting reduced nervousness
and hyperactivity. The students also improved their overall classroom
The Law Of Emotion
A person can only have one set of emotions and feelings at a
time. Stronger emotions and feelings replace weaker ones. Indifference or
boredom can be substituted with appreciation or curiosity. Curiosity can then be
replaced with excitement, which in turn can enable a high-energy learning state.
Self-criticism can be substituted with a strong self-esteem. Neurolinguistic
Programming (NLP) is a way of modeling how successful people achieve their
results. It gives us a wonderful set of tools and principles for enhancing the
components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-control, motivation,
empathy, and social skills.
The Love Factor
Two parallel studies were conducted on young newborn rats
sourced from the same supplier. All aspects of the experiments were identical,
including their food. In one of the locations, Cambridge University in England,
the rats were gaining weight and thriving. In the other location, Harvard
University in the USA, the rats were experiencing less measurable growth. The
researchers were unable to rationalize the difference until they later
discovered the one factor that made the difference. In order to clean the cages
at Harvard, the maintenance staff moved the rats into other cages. At Cambridge,
while some maintenance workers cleaned the cages, other workers held and stroked
the rats. If TLC (tender loving care) can have that kind of effect on the
physiology of rats, think what it can do for a human mind.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT is one of the many techniques in the new field of
Energy Psychology. It is in the branch known as meridian therapies. The
technique removes negative emotions, reduces or eliminates pain, releases
phobias, and assists in setting and implementing positive goals. EFT is a form
of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in
traditional acupuncture, to treat emotional disorders. Focusing on the issue and
stimulating the major neural pathways initiates a memory process causing change
by unblocking the emotional short-circuit. This process results in substituting
positive emotions for the negative emotions, which were previously learned and
associated with the issue.
The process initially requires the person to think about the
event or issue. Simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic
energy onto specific meridians on the hand, head, and chest. This combination of
tapping the energy meridians and voicing specific phrases works to clear the
emotional block from the body's bio-energetic system. This restores the mind and
body's balance, which is essential for optimal learning and mental health. EFT
can dramatically enhance intellectual performance simply by eliminating the
emotional lids on our intellectual potential.
Most SAD Goes Unnoticed.
Most of us navigate through the winter totally oblivious to
how poorly we are functioning. Those who evade SAD are regular outdoor
exercisers and walkers. Many of us just feel a bit down, and turn to comfort
food. The lethargy sets in and we pine for the spring. Be assertive.
Releasing the winter blues is simpler than you think. Begin
today. Get outside.