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10 ways to beat the winter blues

How you can feel better this winter

It’s mid-January. Just after the bliss of Christmas and partying at New Year and too early to get romantic notions for Valentines day.  Don’t let cold temperatures and short days put a damper on your motivation! Here are 10 ways to beat the Winter Blues.

1. Go into the light! Many studies have shown that people with seasonal affective disorder feel better after exposure to bright light. It seems simple enough: In higher latitudes, winter days are shorter, so you get less exposure to sunlight. The wall clock may tell you it’s time to get up and at ’em, but your body’s internal clock says you should be resting. Bright light in the morning resets your circadian clock. So if there’s no sun shining and the winter blues have you down, get yourself a light lamp. Check out this Independent article on the best sunlamps to purchase.

2. Reduce your attachment to possessions. Those who are heavy-set with material desires will have a lot of trouble when their things are taken away from them or lost. Possessions do end up owning you, not the other way around. Become a person of minimal needs and you will be much more content.

3. Allow curiosity to permeate your world. Become an explorer and view the world as your jungle. Stop and observe all of the little things as completely unique events. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone and try to experience as many different environments and sensations as possible. This world has so much to offer, so why not take advantage of it?

4. Remember people’s names – so that they feel appreciated and for your own future benefit when you want something from that person. To do this, say their name back to them when they introduce themselves. Then repeat the name in your head a number of times until you are sure you have it. Continue to use their name in conversation as much as possible to remove any chance of forgetting it. If you’re still having trouble, make up a rhyme about their name: “Dan the Man” or “Natalie flatters me.”

5. Learn not to live in the past. The past is unchangeable so it is futile to reflect on it unless you are making sure you do not repeat past mistakes. The future is but a result of your actions today. So learn from the past to do better in the present so that you can succeed in the future. More specifically, live in THIS moment. Even 10 minutes ago is the past. If you live purely in this moment you will always be happy because there is nothing wrong in this split-second.

6. Show those pearly whites. Whenever you get a grin on your face, your brain is releasing serotonin, the happy hormone. Smiling is the natural way to force yourself to be happy. Many people even smile for five minutes straight in the morning to get themselves in a great mood for the day. It is a very powerful tool that is utilized less and less as we grow older and need happiness more than ever. Just remember that

7. Don’t take life (or yourself) so seriously! Learn to laugh at the little things and this whole “existence” thing will be a whole lot easier. Be amused by your mistakes and failures and be thankful that you learned your lesson and won’t mess up like that again. And most importantly do things that you enjoy! Life is not strictly business, it can be mixed with pleasure.

8. Make positive thinking a priority. When you find yourself thinking a negative thought, stop it immediately by any means necessary. Slap yourself in the face, yell something positive at the top of your lungs or jump up and down. Do whatever it takes to get back to a positive mindset as such is essential for continual happiness and success.

9. Read, read, read!!! Knowledge is power. Bibliotherapy is a very broad term for the ancient practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect. For all avid readers who have been self-medicating with great books their entire lives, it comes as no surprise that reading books can be good for your mental health and your relationships with others.

While reading you are able to experience places without even traveling. You can learn about different cultures, people and places. Historical context will come alive as your eyes dance across the pages of a novel. Your brain stretches as you create pictures in your mind. Those pictures are unique, personal and may serve as inspiration for your job, school assignments and everything else.

10. You’ve got to move it move it! Improving your self-esteem is a key benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. These endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. So even if (and especially when) you DON’T feel like it… get out and move anyway. You’ll be glad you did!

Read here for more articles on how to feel your very best and channel some positive changes in your life. I would love to hear more about how YOU stay happy when it’s drab and dreary – leave a comment below!

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