With daylight hours growing shorter, and daylight savings time ending for most of us Nov. 1, many people have difficulty adjusting to the colder, darker months. An estimated 10 million Americans struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and women are more than four times as likely as men to have it.
As a mental health issue, SAD is more than just being down about the cold and gloom of the winter months — it actually tends to keep you down and affects you day after day. If you suspect you might have this disorder, you should talk to your doctor about it.
If you’re wondering how to beat those common winter blues, or looking for a way to improve your outlook (whether you have SAD or not), here are some things you can try:
The pandemic is a national trauma, but not everyone who suffers loss or extreme stress from it will develop PTSD, psychologist and marriage and family counselor Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker writes in PsychCentral.com. She notes that an estimated 3.6% of U.S. adults had PTSD in the past year, yet an estimated 70% of U.S. adults have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives, according to data from a national survey.
PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. If you suspect that you or someone you love is suffering from PTSD, you may need to seek help from a licensed mental health professional.
By Deepak Chopra™, Cassandra Vieten, Poonacha Machaiah, and Gabriella Wright
In the face of the pandemic crisis, there is a great opportunity. It is open to everyone, and it is free. We invite you, your family, and friends to this healing experience. If you want to find your inner strength, peace, and the end of anxiety, please sign up hereNever Alone Summit, a global mental health event.
In the 3-day summit you will discover the inner breakthroughs that we all need to get past the mental pain and suffering that the pandemic brings in its wake.
At this moment some people have already found a creative way to move forward. They do not feel trapped, because they welcome the chance to put their everyday life on pause. Small opportunities are all around us, to bake bread from sourdough starter, finally build that raised garden bed, meditate, walk and do yoga, and work in pajamas.
For so many others, however, it is a time of depression, uncertainty, and anxiety. Some are lonely in isolation; some feel pressure from being crowded with others for extended periods.
Between the good and bad, for most of us it’s a little bit of both, depending on the day.
With the recent mandates to maintain social isolation, people are more stressed than ever before. Anxiety and panic are plaguing people who have previously managed stress with ease. Marriages that were stressed are now straining under the weight of so much “togetherness”. Professionals are trying to find ways to manage a new normal as they work to create workspaces in their homes, sometimes with kids around. Parents are trying to tackle the rigors of homeschooling. People living on their own are feeling isolated and lonely.
Being under stay-at-home orders provides an opportunity to focus on embracing simple disciplines that can change our health and happiness for the long haul. Refuse to get stuck in the traps of social distancing: staying up late, consuming too much food, alcohol, television and social media, sleeping in, and letting the day go by without a structured plan or schedule. By throwing all discipline out the window in a stressful time, you lose a unique opportunity to trade unhealthy habits for healthy ones that could change the trajectory of your life for the better.
By adopting healthy coping skills, people can find greater contentment and peace. Creating and implementing new schedules or sticking to familiar routines can give people a sense of stability and security, thus reducing anxiety. Finding ways to connect with others in meaningful ways electronically can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, thus reducing depression symptoms. Practicing mindfulness can lead us to feeling grateful and encourage greater levels of happiness.
Freedom from stress is what we all seek. It is actually a natural state of the human mind, but social norms have slowly brought us to a point, where life is in a constant cage of negativity, or in the madness of the chaos created by society.
Over the years, living up to the Jones's had become a necessity, and proving a one-upmanship over the other, is a constant trigger to abide by. The current global situation, which is engulfing us completely in terms of our mind, body and spirit, almost seems incomprehensible to most.
I cannot but help addressing it, as it is a great change that mankind is going through. It isn't about de stressing that we talk, but it is a great challenge in terms of life's spiritual journey.
Earlier as much as one tried looking around, and creating a balance between the two different worlds which are the habitat of our selves, we could even say we can actually loose ourselves in the chaos around us. Yet now looking within is what seems imperative. Connecting to our true identity is what is required of us truly.
In this episode, Dr. David Hanscom talks with Bruce Lipton, a stem cell biologist and author of the best-selling book, The Biology of Belief. He discusses the science behind how our consciousness impacts our health. He explains how stress hormones can shut down the immune system, and examines the role that the neurochemistry of the blood and epigenetics play in regulating our health and behavior.
Life is a miracle, and stress is self created. Miracles are something that happen in people's lives all the time, all over the world. Humanity is one race, and all experiences are common, in terms of their creation in our lives.
It is our own thinking power that is leading us towards our destiny. As a person thinks, his subconscious mind functions on the same wavelength. On this very truth is dependent his reality. All individuals have a different thinking process, and it is because of this reality, that there are different personality types. One person could be fearful and shaky, on the other hand another could be super confident. One person could be kind and religious, another could be the complete opposite. There never seems to be a logical explanation, as to why people think differently.
My personal take on the answers to the secrets of life, is that there is a power in the Universe, that lifts you from the misery and depression in your life, to feeling beautiful and joyous. This is the power that severs your bondage from misery, and puts you on to the road to happiness.
Sometimes you can really feel what you need to do by feeling what’s happening for you when you don’t. “Don’t,” that is: ease up, unwind, recharge, put your feet up, take a load off, just chill. Because when you don’t rest, you wear out, wear down, and start running on empty. Then you’re not much good for yourself or anyone else.
But when you get some rest, and get more rested, you have more energy, mental clarity, resilience for the hard things, patience, and wholehearted caring for others.
I promised my wife this would be my all-time fastest JOT to write. Because I really need some rest!
Pain that is stuck in your body can cause many physical and emotional problems, and blocks out the enlivening flow of love, peace and joy – the flow of Spirit.
Growing up, all of us had pain from the loneliness, grief, helplessness and heartbreak of rejection, loss and engulfment. As little ones, we could not manage these huge painful feelings, so we found ways to avoid feeling them, which resulted in storing them in our body.
As adults, these painful feelings get triggered when others are rejecting or controlling, or by other painful events and circumstances. If we continue to avoid feeling our painful feelings, they may eventually result in illness, failed relationships, and even more loneliness and heartbreak.
Positive emotions – such as feelings of gratitude, love, and confidence – strengthen the immune system, protect the heart against loss and trauma, build relationships, increase resilience, and promote success. Based on studies that have already been done, if a drug company could patent a happiness pill, we’d be seeing ads for it every night on TV.
Technically, emotions can be organized along two dimensions: intensity (how strong they are) and hedonic valence (how good they feel). Tranquility, for example, has low intensity but can feel really really good, a profound inner peace.
Research indicates a surprising discovery about how our face affects our emotions.
I love it when I learn something new that adds a bit of joy to life. In the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, I read of a study done by three men – Paul Ekman, Wallace Friesen and Robert Levenson, on what happens in the body as a result of facial expressions.
Volunteers were “…hooked up to monitors measuring their heart rate and body temperature – the physiological signals of such emotions as anger, sadness, and fear. Half the volunteers were told to try to remember and relive a particularly stressful experience. The other half were simply shown how to create, on their faces, the expressions that corresponded to stressful emotions, such as anger, sadness, and fear. The second group, the people who were acting, showed the same physiological responses, the same heightened heart rate and body temperature, as the first group.” (p. 207)
Self care needs to be positioned above all else. If we don't take adequate measures for self care, all the self relief activities we delve into, are a pretty useless excercise.
Self care has been defined in a medical journal as" a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well being." This might sound complicated, but in simple words we need to just say that Self care is extremely essential for our physical and mental well being.
MIND BODY CONNECT
When you have taken adequate steps to care for your mind and body, you are well equipped to handle the daily stressors that life seems to throw at you. The same thing which could be a stressor for one person, could be an exhilarating adventure for another. To each his own actually.
It’s easy to let the stresses of daily life overwhelm us and send us into unhelpful thought patterns. Before I learned mindfulness, I suffered greatly from depression and even had thoughts of suicide. Now, though – thanks to a wonderful therapist and my committed study and practice of mindfulness techniques – I have tools right at my fingertips that can help me through the hardest times. My goal is to share these tools with as many people as possible so others can feel empowered to help themselves, too.
I invite you to try these three mindfulness techniques for yourself and see what impact they have on your mental state and well-being.
“Troubled by questions all my life, like a madman, I have been knocking at the door. It opened! I had been knocking from the inside.” -Rumi
I've Been Thinking...
This week, I interviewed Dr. Mehmet Oz about his mother’s recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis. As his friend, it ached me to learn that he and his family are now confronted with this mind-blowing disease. Long after the interview was over, though, I found myself thinking even more about something Dr. Oz had said to me about himself. I found myself thinking about how he said he felt shame and guilt that he had missed the warning signs of his mother’s health.
Summer is amongst us and in full bloom. It usually signifies a happy season for most of us. As children Summer meant no school, longer daylight hours and more time to just enjoy youth. As an adult, it usually means vacations, barbeques, and delicious seasonal foods. I remember as a child looking forward to the last day of school because it meant that boating with my family on the Long Island Sound was coming-up.
“ Spring is when severely depressed people can be motivated enough to take action and do something. In most people, depression creates overwhelming feelings of listlessness and disinterest, so the idea of putting together a plan to commit suicide is too difficult during the winter, when depression symptoms may be worse in some people, he (Dixon) said. "Another hypothesis: [Patients] know how they're affected by seasonal winter depression. They anticipate they'll feel better when spring and summer roll around," Dixon said. "When they don't, that's a catalyst for suicide." One of the oldest theories holds that people who are depressed and withdrawn during the winter don't bounce back in spring, as other people do.”
Are you ready to move beyond obsessive ruminating and worry? Are you ready to move beyond fear, anxiety and depression? What works for me can work for you too!
I used to spend hours and even days ruminating about different things – a conflict with someone important to me, a work situation, finances, time pressures. I would obsessively worry or try to figure out the “right” thing to do or how to get the outcome I wanted. Of course, I would end up drained, anxious and confused, but this didn’t deter me from this addiction. It was in my blood, absorbed from my mother and grandmother.
In some wounded part of me, I believed that ruminating, obsessing, and worrying would somehow give me control over the outcome of things. I was afraid not to obsess – not to try to control others and outcomes.
But ruminating, obsessing and worrying created very low-frequency feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression…
I feel that your emotional well being is what holds the answer to your overall happiness and joy. Happiness is what the human being is looking for. This comes to us through a combination of two things, we need to focus our concentration on these constantly.
PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL BEING
This is what is important. It means, you combine, Feeling good with Effective Functioning. This basically includes, feeling good, happy and satisfied with life.You need to feel capable and we'll supported. There are only subtle differences in all these factors. They are basically almost the same, or we can even say, on a similar vibrational frequency.
This per se is supposed to be associated with, more money, higher performance, helping others, generally all behaviors that you can identify with success. Psychological well being means, feeling happy and doing well.
Imagine for a moment a man walking through his office when his boss passes by and gives him a blank look. Suddenly the thought pops into the man’s mind that his boss is criticizing him or doesn’t like him.
Now, as he starts to fear this idea, a negative picture is produced by his imagination. His mind focuses its attention on this disturbing image. And the more he attends to this dark dream, the further into its labyrinth he descends, strengthening its presence and power to further frighten him. A heartbeat later, he has no doubt: the boss has it in for him!
This thought grows in authority for him, tormenting him for the rest of the day and causing him to snap at his family when he gets home. And all of this suffering is born of what? The conjunction of a passing glance and a moment of misdirected attention!
Here’s the amazing thing about this illustration, and what we want to learn from it: this whole drama has been played out inside of the man – storyline, stage, cast, and leading characters. But he doesn’t see how this painful state is self-created; instead he believes it has been thrust upon him by someone else – his heartless boss! So, what else can he do – being in the dark as he is to his true condition – but try to rid himself of his stressed feelings?
In today's fast track world people are suffering from many facets of anxiety disorders. Loneliness is a key factor, closely followed by fear, which could further lead to depression.
Many people chance themselves upon panic attacks due to these feelings, as being constantly inwardly drawn and tuned in without adequate outside support, leads to a condition we could name as a panic disorder.
People who could be categorized into this, are the ones who are coping with challenging situations, nervous disorders, fear based problems and a general state of uneasiness.
Most people are trying in their own variant ways, to deal with these emotions:
These are the practices followed to cope with the emotional anxiety challenges. Most of these methods are incorrect.They will only make the emotions go away temporarily. On the other hand may even lead to enhanced anxiety, and may have a negative effect in the long run.
Join Panache Desai every morning and for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.