Don’t Be SAD
William Shakespeare once wrote “a sad tale’s best for winter,” and many people would agree with him. As the seasons change, many experience a shift in their mood, even to the point of depression. This mental shift, more famously known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), commonly rears up in the winter months but can strike during any season change.
Symptoms of SAD run the gamut from typical depressive indicators like feelings of depression, trouble concentrating, and feelings of hopelessness, while winter-specific symptoms commonly include:
- Weight gain
- Diet changes
- Excessive fatigue
While acute depression may be the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, effective treatment of its symptoms — like nutritional counseling, supplements, or therapy — can help people turn themselves around. One of the most important exercises to practice is maintaining a positive attitude; to find the sunshine, so to speak, even in the winter months.
Here Comes the Sun
Positivity can be a devilishly difficult skill to keep up. This is because depressive symptoms become couched in our thinking, in our behavior, and in our outlook so securely, that they become our “default setting.”
Much like living in a climate that favors overcast weather (such as some coastal states or countries like Russia, which features overcast weather nearly 80% of the time), it may seem as if the grayness of the cloud canopy is a permanent fixture in your life, but you will be surprised at how quickly it can lift with a conscious change of focus. In a manner of speaking, you can take off in a plane, break through the clouds, and you’ll find the sun has been there the entire time.
A positive outlook is like keeping your plane in the sunlight; it can be difficult to do when gravity wants to pull you back beneath the clouds but the light will help you see things more clearly, and you’ll stay warm no matter how cold the winter becomes.
Positivity as True Holistic Health
When our patients check in to Alpine Clinic, many of them are looking for treatment for myriad problems, each one interconnected to the other. Persistent weight gain, for example, might nod to a problem with metabolic hormones, which can lead to chronic pain and stress. In the meantime, inflammation has set in in the joints, along with high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. It doesn’t take long for a cascade of health problems to commence.
Naturally, we have treatments for all of these problems and our physicians are happy to help you discover the host of holistic health benefits that we provide. But your positive mental engagement is the secret to making all of these treatments work more quickly and more effectively.
Scientists have studied the power of positive thinking and have linked it to exciting medical and lifestyle benefits, such as:
- Increased life span
- Fewer depressive episodes
- Lower stress levels
- Better immunity to sickness
- Better cardiovascular health
- Better coping skills when trials do occur
As well as any supplement, a positive outlook helps rewire your brain and your heart directly at the source, coming from you. Cynics may think that such holistic health benefits are flukes, or that positivity is nothing but an exercise in self-delusion. Are these the people most in need of a rewire?
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
How can we turn negative thoughts into positive ones? It’s possible but like all hard things, it takes practice before you can become an expert at it. Positivity requires identifying modes of negative thoughts and behaviors, and taking definitive steps to reverse them. These steps include:
- Giving into humor
- Watching what you eat
- Exercising at least a few minutes each day
- Practicing positive affirmations
- Spending more time with other positive people
Positivity requires a certain amount of self-reflection and honesty, so that you can identify ways that you’ve been negative and how it’s been affecting your day. If you’re worried that nothing you’re trying is working, or that the results are not coming as quickly as you’d hoped, it’s best to remember the words of famed comedian Eric Idle:
“If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you’re feeling in the dumps,
Don’t be silly, chumps.
Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing.
And always look on the bright side of life.”
For additional support in changing thought and behavior patterns, call and make an appointment with our health coach.
With your diagnoses related to blood sugar management, blood cholesterol/ lipid levels, triglycerides, inflammatory conditions, or cardiovascular disease, our team will collaborate with your care. We will provide you with step-by-step mentoring to produce lifestyle changes leading to your optimal health, and the visits can be billed to insurance.