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Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder and the holiday blues

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) occurs during the wintertime and can leave us with the holiday blues. For a small percent of the population, shorter winter days and lack of daylight alter the body chemistry and result in mild to severe symptoms that are similar to depression. SAD can be debilitating as it decreases a person’s functional abilities to effectively work and socialize. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes SAD as a psychiatric syndrome that causes mood changes, weight gain, excess sleep, and loss of energy. Light therapy, in combination with mood-lifting herbal supplements, can relieve the symptoms associated with SAD.

Tips to beat SAD and the holiday blues [1]

  1. Peppermint oil– helps with sadness and depression. Inhale a whiff to get a burst of energy. The aroma of peppermint enhances memory and can lift the mood so it is useful for those who suffer from stress, depression, and anxiety.
  2. Fluorescent compact bulb– these bright lights can actually change the levels of melatonin in your brain, inhibiting depression. They’re also very inexpensive! Light therapy is also known as phototherapy, bright light therapy, or light box therapy. Light alters circadian rhythms and inhibits release of melatonin, a brain chemical that regulates sleep cycles. Depression typically worsens during the cold, dark months, and light therapy has been shown to effectively reduce the symptoms of SAD.
  3. Chili peppers– contain capsaicin, which boosts energy and can enhance circulation. This ingredient helps your brain produce endorphins, which are natural mood-enhancing chemicals in your body.
  4. Ginger tea– it boosts your metabolism, increasing weight loss! The scent of fresh ginger helps with nausea and reduces depression and anxiety. It is also considered to be one of the most calming fragrances.
  5. Gingko biloba– makes you more alert and boosts your brain power. This herbal medication is used in the treatment of Alzheimer's and stroke because it increases the blood flow to the brain. It normalizes the levels of certain brain chemicals, which may help alleviate depression.

These tips include natural treatments that will help you cope with the cold, dark winter months and alleviate the symptoms of SAD. Include exercise and meditation in your daily regimen to reduce your stress level. The higher your stress level, the higher your risk for accidents, infections, and speeding up the aging process. So, follow these healthy tips to help chase those holiday blues away!

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Copyright ©2010 Joyce E.M. Wall




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