Do the shorter days and darker evenings of fall leave you feeling blue? Lots of people feel down at this time of year, in part because less sunlight messes with and depletes our levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with making us feel happy. Therapist Danny Greeves says the time change in the fall - which happens this Saturday night - is actually the start of the busiest time of the year for therapists like him.
If your mood drops with the temperature, these practical tips from Greeves can help you beat the winter blues.
- Set winter-specific goals - Greeves explains that we often feel the most fulfilled and happy when we’re making progress towards meaningful goals. So whether it’s exercising more or starting a new craft project, decide on a goal and find an easy way to track your progress. And for an extra incentive, choose some winter-themed rewards to celebrate your progress and keep you motivated.
- Create a winter mindfulness habit - “By becoming more mindful, you’ll be able to notice when unhelpful or negative thoughts come along and become more skilled at letting the thoughts go, rather than letting them have power over you,” Greeves explains. Your mindfulness routine could be as simple as taking a quiet walk at lunch or even just doing the dishes mindfully, so you’re only concentrating on the task at hand.
- Learn something new - Not only will it give you the benefit of increasing your knowledge and memory, your brain’s reward system lights up when you learn something new that interests you,” the therapist explains. From documentaries to free online courses, there are all kinds of ways to learn new things and the regular dose of the feel-good chemical dopamine you’ll get from it will boost feelings of pleasure and achievement.
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