Smile and Be Thankful: Combating Winter Depression
Americans are more depressed now than ever.
That’s an unfortunate fact, isn’t it? According to a study from San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge published on ScienceDaily.com, “Americans now report more psychosomatic symptoms of depression, such as trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating, than their counterparts in the 1980s.”
In the wintertime especially, people may feel the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that is sparked by the changing seasons. People suffering from SAD usually find the disorder peaks at the same time of year every year, and right now we are in the middle of that fall-to-winter time frame.
To combat depression, use the holiday season to improve your mood and the mood of those around you. You’ll find that by surrounding yourself with like-minded, positive individuals, your own self-esteem and morale will receive a natural, welcome boost.
Here’s a great way to start: smile and say “thank you.” How easy is that? When you buy something at a store or when you enlist the help of a co-worker for a task around the office, great them with a positive, genuine smile and thank them when they leave.
When paying for something, ask the clerk how their day is going with a smile. A simple “Hello, how are you today?” shows you care about them, boosting their mood and yours, too!
Taking this a step further, let those around you know you’re thankful for what they do. Tell your spouse, child, or best friend you appreciate everything they do for you. They’ll love to hear that type of genuine thanks!
If you have a boss who treats you well or a co-worker who is especially helpful and supportive on a regular basis, send them a thank-you card and let them know you’re glad to have them in your life. It might sound silly or overly generous, but it’s not–it’s a sincere form of appreciation that can remarkably affect your mental health (and theirs, too!).
Take a second away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and give back to those around you with a smile or a hug. Be thankful. Express your gratitude.
Your support and love will benefit everyone around you, including yourself.
Let this be the happiest, most loving holiday season yet. Enjoy the celebration!
-Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director
Allaince Healthcare Foundation
About Alliance Healthcare Foundation
Alliance Healthcare Foundation is a San Diego-based nonprofit which works with nonprofit, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties. AHF works to serve the most vulnerable – the poor, working poor, children and homeless by providing grants, advocacy and education to support its region.
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