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Sometimes It Takes More Than a Smile Not to be SAD

Posted by terrepruitt on February 21, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Campbell Nia, Nia CampbellSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) per the U.S. National Library of Medicine is “episodes of depression that occur at a certain time of the year, usually during winter.”  Interestingly, “Like other forms of depression, it occurs more often in women than in men.”  According to Wiki “Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder”.   I remember when it was declared a “real” disorder.  It really sounds as if this type of disorder can become very serious.  There are general symptoms that are common when someone is depressed; difficulty sleeping, difficulty waking, sleeping too much, not sleeping, over eating, not eating, gaining weight, losing weight, not socializing, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and so on.  It seems as if any depression, if left untreated and it continues, could become serious.  This type of depression is no different. 

I was surprised to see that it is treated somewhat the same way as other depression with both drugs and therapy.  Since it is caused by lack of sunlight I hadn’t thought of using medication or talking about it to help it.  But I guess that if you are depressed and antidepressants make you not depressed they would work no matter what the cause.  And talk therapy helps with all types of depression too.  The Mayo Clinic states the causes for SAD to be possibly your body’s rhythm being “off” due to the lack of light, so your body doesn’t know when to sleep and when to be awake, the serotonin levels being low, this is the chemical in the brain that affects your mood, so low levels could be a cause of depression, then there is melatonin levels which regulates sleep so this hormone can be off balance and affect one’s mood.

With that said, I would think that doing things to help make certain your clock stays regular would help.  Make certain you keep to a strict bedtime and rising time in the morning.  Also eating foods that can increase levels of serotonin might help.  Good foods to eat include bananas, papayas, walnuts, and dates.  (Mmmm, sounds like a recipe for a smoothie!)

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, I found the following list on: Muscle-Health-Fitness.com

 1) Free Range Turkey
 2) Flaxseed/ Flaxseed oil
 3) Buckwheat
 4) Wild Fish and Sea food
 5) Whey protein
 6) Bananas
 7) High quality Eggs
 8) Sour Cherries
 9) Free Range Beef
 10) Dark Chocolate

According to Livestrong foods that boost your melatonin are rice, barley, bananas and tomatoes.  Melatonin is also found in tart cherries, sunflower seeds, almonds, and red radishes.  Which again, if low levels of this hormone are thought to play a role in SAD, then increasing the levels would seem to be a logical step.

The thing I see most is light therapy.  But it doesn’t work for everyone.  It needs to be a bright light, one that is like the sun.  I found a variety of lights on Amazon ranging from $60.00 to $600.00.   With this type of therapy you sit in front of the light for a prescribed amount of time per day. 

Another way to fight depression is to exercise.  Exercise is always going to help because it increases your endorphins.  The endorphins create a positive feeling in the body.  Feeling positive helps with depression.  For me dancing is both a great exercise and a great way to get happy.  That is one reason why I love Nia because it really does make me happy.  But, of course there is all types of exercise to help get those endorphins up.  So anything that you will actually do . . . is GREAT!

I think SAD is much more widely accepted as an actual disorder than it once was.  There are so many things and ways that we are educated and allowed to see how people live and feel.  We probably all know at least one person living in an area where they might be susceptible to SAD.  Even if you don’t feel you have felt depression because of the weather, maybe you have things you do that make you happy and get you out of a funk.  What are they?  What do you do that help make you happy?  Share with us here and maybe they can help someone who is SAD.

12 Responses to “Sometimes It Takes More Than a Smile Not to be SAD”

  1. niachick said

    Sadly (no pun intended), we have found all sorts of ways, and had them backed up by medical experts, to avoid owning the truth of who we are. We are whole, complete, healthy, magnificent, marvelous, magical human beings who have been given the opportunity to express the beauty of spirit in action with our bodies, our minds and our hearts. Instead, we choose to find ways to avoid doing that. SAD is one of them.

    I do think it’s sad that SAD has to be an excuse for not expressing the wholeness of being.

    Off my soapbox. Thank you as always for your blogs. Each one is extraordinary…much like yourself.


    • So you are saying that you don’t believe that the lack of sunlight affects people mentally? Do you acknowledge that lack of sunlight affects people physically?

      You are allowed and welcome to be “on your soapbox”, I just didn’t know how to respond so I am asking for clarification.


  2. We have had so many cloudy days this winter. It really has affected my moods. Sometimes a funny movie helps, but a sunny day is my cure. 🙂 Thank goodness I don’t have to wait long for one of those.


    • I just read a friend’s post on Facebook where she was saying the temperature was great but she was pleading for SUN (she’s in Texas, too).

      A funny movie is a GREAT pick me up. Great idea!


  3. Michele said

    Awesome post! Gray = SAD, just having moved from a sunny place to a gray place I was not expecting to feel this even though I had heard about it. All of your research has provided some great ideas – exercise being the one that sounds the best and I always need a reminder to get moving! Also I am finding talking to other people about it helps too. My kids pediatrician also suggested vitamin D for the whole family, so we are doing that. As I write this we in the Pacific Northwest are in the middle of a very long gray weather pattern and I hear the rain outside my window which means I didn’t get out for a walk yet, hmmm I might have to resort to some loud music and dancing around with my kids in the living room this afternoon! Thanks Terre!


    • Love you!

      You can always do the 10 minute workout. That is a great full body workout. And I have found that mixing it up gives it variety.

      I read something about vitamin D, but sometimes I don’t like to put too much into one post, for one thing, and another thing, sometimes what I find just states a lot of controversial stuff so I just roll my eyes and sigh and don’t bother with it. 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I wish I would send you some sunshine! XOXOXO


  4. Michele said

    Yep, I will be visiting the 10 minute work out post for some inspiration!! XOXOXO


  5. Mike said

    I try to get outside every moment I can when the sun is shining. Sort of like a battery, I store it up for those gray days I don’t see it and yes we get them in Florida as well.

    Go for a walk. I don’t mean a stroll but get out there and put some distance on those sneaks. As you wrote, exercise has proven to boost moods no matter the cause.

    I also get around the same number of hours of sleep each night, getting up at the same time – even the weekend. It keeps my internal clock in sync with my day.

    Watch something funny or read something funny. Anything no matter how absurd will help you if you laugh so hard your stomach hurts.


    • Great ideas!

      Walking is a great pick-me-up. I was writing the post with a friend in mind and I know that she is walking – a lot so I didn’t put that in there. But it is GREAT. Especially if you are walking on those days that are sunny.

      It is great to get the same number hours of sleep if that is enough sleep. 🙂

      Watching or reading something funny, something that makes you laugh is a great tool to ward off the blues. I like it. Thanks.

      Did you see my Eating Kale Post? I mentioned you!


      • Mike said

        I DID see that and I thank you! I now buy Kale every week thanks to you. I had some tonight on turkey burgers. A LOT of it so the burger was more green than turkey – wonderful! The other night I just had some leaves with a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar – and a few nuts on top. Excellent. You sure hooked me – thanks!

        I read a true story once about someone who had been diagnosed with some sort of cancer – and refused all treatment even though he had more than enough money. Instead for several weeks he got hold of all the funny movies and classics he could find: The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello and so forth. The more rediculously funny the better. He laughed – hard – every day until his follow up appointment and his cancer was already showing signs of remission. Laughter can indeed be the best medicine for what ails the body AND the mind.


        • I am glad my post helped introduce you to kale. And thank you, you were the one that encouraged me to eat it raw. It is a great green.

          I believe in the health benefits of laughter. That story is amazing!

          Thanks for reading and commenting.


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