Let the sunshine in.
Many individuals who report symptoms of depression, especially during the Winter months, have an insufficient level of Vitamin D in their bodies, when the amount of natural light is less than during other seasons. If you work indoors or wear alot of sunscreen, or it's been the kind of Winter like we have been having here in the Northeast, our body cannot make Vitamin D as well, and as a result, women, in particular, are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Erin LeBlanc, MD, a vitamin D researcher for Kaiser Permanente in her research has noted that "80% of women have low levels of Vitamin D and have reported fatigue, depression, muscle pain, bone pain and weight gain." If you believe that your Vitamin D levels might be suspect, go to your doctor and request testing. Never take any supplements without the advice of your healthcare professional. Foods that are rich in Vitamin D are: orange juice, mushrooms, fortified milk, soymilk, cereal, chicken, broccoli, fish, and fish oil.
Lions & Tigers & Bears...oh, my!
Our brains are wired to be on the alert .. expecting something bad to happen. Researchers have determined that the human brain is much better at taking in negative experiences than positive ones. What was good for ancestors: on the alert for danger(s) doesn't serve us well now. It actually causes us unnecessary unhappiness.
Which brings us to the work we need to do for ourselves...for our family...for all of the people that are important to us.
Look around you. Take in your surroundings, all of the gifts that life has given you. The breath you take, the clothes on your back, the roof over your head, the person who smiles when you pass by, or says, "I love you" to you. Look at the beautiful blue sky, the mountains and the trees, the colorful and aromatic flowers, and the ocean ~ when you have a chance. Dip you fingers into the sunshine and put a little of that warmth and Vitamin D behind your ears. Wrap your arms around yourself and SMILE.
What or who do you take for granted? What or who do let go by without taking notice of the beauty, the sweetness, the kindness, the generosity?
Take a few seconds (at least 10...that's not so much to ask, is it?) at least 3 times/day to appreciate anything that is good in your life ~ really let it sink in and see how much better it makes you feel.
Bad things do happen. Think about something positive. Give that as much weight and time as the other...maybe even more! The more you think about positive, pleasurable events, people, experiences ~the more it neutralizes the negativity.
Prescription for Happiness
According to Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, you can attain a positive outlook and reap the social and physical benefits too. Be around others who are happy. When people interact, their gestures, biochemistries and neural firings start to mirror each other.
Making Time for Mindfulness
A wonderful piece on NPR about being addicted to our fast paced lives and gadgets.