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5 Ways To Beat Seasonal Depression

The family has left, the Christmas cookies are lurking in the freezer, and summertime seems to be taking its sweet time returning from the other side of the globe. It’s not ‘tis the season to be jolly’ anymore, but rather, ‘the most sorrowful time of the year.’ For a quick solution, exercise, sun exposure, brain stimulation, volunteering, and perhaps a dog are five things that may help kick that crummy mood to the curb.

1. Exercise, Exercise and Exercise

A study by Lynette L. Craft, Ph.D. and Frank M. Perna, Ed.D., Ph.D. proves that any physical activity produces endorphins, which are the chemicals that help combat depression while releasing a euphoric feeling. Now, exercise isn’t limited to getting a gym membership and doing a daily exercise routine but can include anything from gardening to golf. Studies also show that exercise helps improve cognitive function, sleep, and self-esteem by increasing levels of energy and, therefore, better health. Fast walking, yoga, cycling, and bowling are just a few other ways to get that exercise in.

2. Sun exposure

According to Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, and CCRN, the right balance of sunlight can have a variety of mood-lifting benefits. When the retina is exposed to sunlight, serotonin is released from the brain. This “happy hormone” is known for helping a person stay alert, calm, and focused while its counterpart, melatonin, is released at nighttime and is known for helping a person fall asleep.

This is often why Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is more prevalent in the winter when the nights are longer and the days are shorter because of a decrease in levels of serotonin. To combat this, The World Health Organization recommends getting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight two to three times a week to enjoy the vitamin D-boosting effects.

3. Brain Stimulation

It’s nothing new that mental exercises such as Sudoku and crossword puzzles help keep our brains smart. Thinking faster, having a better memory, trying new things, having sharper vision, finding the correct words, improved self-confidence, and a being in a better mood are just a few of the benefits of having a fit brain.

Read the full article here: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/exercise-699844-help-brain.html